Are specific or multiple stressors, including changing oceanographic and atmospheric conditions, affecting water quality?
Water quality in the sanctuary is considered to be good based on assessments during spring 2000 and 2005. The trend, however, is undetermined. Unfortunately, there is insufficient information to determine whether changing oceanographic and atmospheric conditions are affecting water quality. In 2005, sanctuary staff in collaboration with the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography developed a more extensive water quality monitoring plan to assess whether trends observable in the coastal region are being reflected in water quality at Gray’s Reef. Measurements include temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, inorganic nutrients (NO2/NO3, NH4, PO4, Si(OH)4), organic nutrients (DON, urea, DOC), chlorophyll-a, and a number of bacteriological parameters including total bacteria counts, total and fecal coliforms, enterococci, and the ratio of bioluminescent to total heterotrophic bacteria. Harmful algal bloom species are not currently being examined at the Gray’s Reef sanctuary. Specific chemical c