USF engineering-led team awarded $2.5M federal grant for coastal harmful algal bloom research
USF engineers awarded $2.5 million federal grant to expand harmful algal bloom research along Florida coasts
Engineers from the USF College of Engineering are leading a team of scientists across the state in the development of a new, state-of-the-art system that allows water districts to better predict and manage harmful algal blooms.
The $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allows USF to work with researchers from the University of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District to address harmful algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River watersheds.
“Harmful algae blooms cause many negative environmental, health and economic effects throughout the state,” said principal investigator Mauricio Arias, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. “This three-year grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supports the development of new state-of-the-art water quality data and models to better predict and manage harmful algae blooms in this vitally important and environmentally sensitive ecosystem.”
Harmful algae blooms occur when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often develop floating mats that produce unpleasant odors and may negatively impact fish, birds and other wildlife.
The research team will take a multidisciplinary approach to fill any knowledge gaps by utilizing tools that model water resources and water quality, physical oceanography and will engage with end-users.
“The goals of this project are to generate actionable knowledge and develop a tool that will allow managers to better predict and manage harmful algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee River watersheds,” said Wendy Graham, director of the University of Florida Water Institute.