MarineLab staff and students have been collecting data monthly for University of Florida’s LakeWatch program since October. Yesterday, students from Steinert collected water samples and Secchi depth during their mangrove trips to Tarpon Basin.
Today the water samples were filtered and preserved for collection by UF personnel. UF’s program is focused primarily on chlorophyll, phosphorous and nitrogen analysis.
LAKEWATCH data can be used to establish a baseline — a long-term record — that provides a basis for comparison with future data. In nature, change is the rule. Water chemistry will change naturally, possibly changing with the seasons or in response to natural environmental conditions. Only by knowing what changes have been normal in the past, can you determine those that are abnormal and possible cause for concern.
Florida lakes and coastal systems have different phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations from one region to another because of natural factors such as geology, soils, and hydrology. The water systems have been grouped into 6 zones based on their total phosphorus concentrations and 5 similar zones based on their total nitrogen concentrations. Zones range from those with very little to very high P or N concentrations. On the maps, the average and range of concentrations is given for each zone. (Units are in micrograms/liter.) Lakewatch data from 1387 lakes were used to formulate the zones.