Published: February 06, 2009
The University of Tampa’s location on the Hillsborough River has long
been convenient for sightseeing, sunbathing and boating — and now for
monitoring Tampa Bay water quality.
UT has recently partnered
with the University of South Florida College of Marine Science/Coastal
Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS) to install a water
quality monitoring station literally in the University’s backyard — just
off the bank of the lower Hillsborough River.
“UT’s location is
prime for water quality monitoring since it is situated in a heavily
urbanized area on one of the major rivers providing fresh water to Tampa
Bay,” said Steve Hendrix, UT associate professor of chemistry. “Plus,
we house the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Marine Analysis (LAMA), and
we have a long history of collaboration with USF in the area of
oceanographic nutrient research.”
The data from the UT station
will monitor in real time the nutrients in the water as they flow toward
Tampa Bay. The station will monitor nitrate, salinity, water
temperature and tide height. According to Hendrix, millions of gallons
of water a day is released into the Hillsborough River by the Southwest
Florida Water Management District, and this station will provide key
water quality data.
The water quality monitoring station will
allow UT chemistry students to be involved in providing data as part of
ongoing research projects.
UT’s weather station
, located atop the Cass Building, will provide meteorological data to complement the water quality data.
has provided the station assembly and associated infrastructure at no
cost. UT alumnus and USF post-doctoral fellow Dr. Rob Masserini is
leading the project from the USF side.
The sensor station, which
was installed in late December, is located just north of the floating
crew docks and north of McKay Hall on the UT campus. Power for the
system is provided by a solar panel.
The UT station will be
integrated into a larger project by the Oceanic Nutrient Laboratory,
which recently collaborated with Tampa Bay Physical Oceanographic
Real-Time System (PORTS) and the USF COMPS to monitor nutrients in Tampa
Bay. Currently there are PORTS stations in such locations as Port
Tampa, Egmont Channel and Sunshine Skyway.
These observing systems are also integrated with NOAA coastal ocean observing systems (COOS).
For more information, contact Hendrix at (813) 257-3441 or