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Ayers, Proposal

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The Ecological Implications of Seasonal Fluctuations in Chlorophyll a (Chl a) Upon Submerged

Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) in Hendry Creek, Lee County, Florida.

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Abstract

Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), including freshwater sea grasses, have diminished

both locally (southwest Florida) and globally in recent decades. During the same time

frame, human development along coastal areas has altered the outflow of nutrients and

other chemicals into these waters, including chlorophyll a (Chl a). Recent environmental

and regulatory initiatives have been drivers toward seeking legislation to reduce Chl a in

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local water to improve water clarity, that is, to reduce light attenuation. A study to

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determine the concentration of chlorophyll a and the relationship with SAV is desirable to

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more efficiently control and improve water quality with regard to light attenuation. A

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study of Chl a and the implications upon SAV in Hendy Creek would add an additional

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dimension to the local understanding of how SAV in other water bodies would react to

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substantial changes in water releases performed in the context of water management


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE

INTRODUCTION

METHODS

STUDY AREA

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

DATA COLLECTION

REFERENCES CITED

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

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TIMELINE AND SPECIAL RESOURCES

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Research Objective:

The goal is to measure and evaluate the ecological implications of seasonal fluctuations in

chlorophyll a (Chl a) upon submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in Hendry Creek, Lee

County, Florida. These results, along with similar studies done on other local tributaries,

will assist in setting TMDL limits and other regulatory measures designed to improve

southwest Florida coastal and estuarine waters. [59]

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Introduction:
Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) including freshwater sea grasses, have

diminished both locally (southwest Florida) and globally in recent decades (Corbett and

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Hale. 2006). During the same time frame, human development along coastal areas has

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altered the outflow of nutrients and other chemicals into these waters, including

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chlorophyll a (Chl a) (Moreno et al. 2012). Chlorophyll a is, however, not the sole cause of

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light attention in estuarine waters (Le et al. 2013). Color (CDOM) and turbidity are also

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major causes of attenuation (McPherson and Miller 1987). Given the amount of political

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capital and economic hardship associated with new regulations designed to reduce

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outflows of Chl a or the reactants that generate it, a clearer understanding of these outflows

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is desirable, not only to academia, but also to regional business interests (Bailey and Peets

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2009) (Paulson et al. 2002). [138]

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Recent environmental and regulatory importance has been a driver to seek

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legislation to reduce chlorophyll a in local water to improve water clarity, that is, to reduce

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attenuation (Wainger 2012). A study to determine the concentration of chlorophyll a is

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desirable to more efficiently control and improve water quality (with regard to light

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attenuation) (Sherwood, et al. 2015). Studies have been conducted on local waters heavily
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impacted by the active water management of waters historically flowing southward into

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Florida Bay, that is, the "Everglades" (Chen et al. 2014). Hendy Creek is a local water

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tributary with urban and suburban headwaters, but is relatively unconstricted by

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engineered water control stations (Hammond and Tomasko, 2012). [113]

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A study of chlorophyll a and the implications upon SAV in Hendy Creek would add

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an additional dimension to the local understanding of how SAV in other water bodies

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would react to substantial changes in water releases performed in the context of water

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management. Measurement of SAV by means of surveyed transects is a common way of

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measuring SAV. Transects have studied extensively in Estero Bay, Tampa Bay and other

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local waters, but not as much in local tributaries (Leary and Preserves 2012). Other light

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attenuation factors, specifically color (CDOM) and turbidity (or TSS) would need to be

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measured as well, as they typically have been the dominant contributors to light

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attenuation (Chen et al. 2014). Whatever the outcomes, results of this project will be

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helpful in future assessments of how resources should be expended to maximize the

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benefit of local water quality improvement efforts and the regulatory and legislative

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requirements imposed upon these efforts. [155]

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Methods:

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The Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) at certain sites in Hendry Creek will be

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measured. Also to be measured will be light attenuation, and the water quality properties

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of turbidity, color (CDOM) and chlorophyll a. The relationship between SAV abundance

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and chlorophyll a will be examined. [45]

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Study Area (adapted from Tyler and Rhew 2008.)

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Hendry Creek is located in the southwest region of Lee County in southwest Florida,

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approximately 3 miles south of the city of Ft. Myers and approximately 3 miles southeast of

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the city of Cape Coral. For assessment purposes, Hendry Creek is divided into a

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predominantly freshwater segment and a predominantly marine segment. State Road (S.R.)

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45 runs between the two segments. Hendry Creek flows south for approximately 6 miles

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into north Estero Bay and drains a watershed of about 15.35 square miles. Most

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development is in the north end of the watershed, and wetlands and water dominate the

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southern portion. (Fig. 1) [102]

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Figure 1

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Experimental Design: Field Surveys Methods (adapted from Stearns 2007; Erickson

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2010; and Leary2012):

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Three transects sites will be selected in Hendry Creek, roughly at the headwaters, then

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halfway down the creek, finally at the mouth of the creek were it enters Estero Bay.

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Approximate location are shown on Figure 1. Sampling intervals will be quarterly for three

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years for a total of 12 sampling events for each transect. At each site, a fixed linear transect

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will be established from the shoreward edge of the SAV to the waterward edge, where

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possible. At regular intervals along each transect, detailed information such as species,

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abundance, and density will be collected using a one square meter quadrat. Quadrat

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sampling points (stations) will be marked with PVC stakes and GPS coordinates used for

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reference. In addition to these regular intervals, data at the beginning and end of the grass

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bed will be collected. Both end points may vary. To measure SAV, sample blade or leaf

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lengths will be measured. Total SAV abundance will be measured. Blade lengths will be

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multiplied by abundance to calculate a biomass total. Digital photographs will be taken at

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each site to assist evaluating species abundance. [183]

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Data Collection (adapted from Chen et al. 2014; and Corbett and Hale 2006)

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Measurements of the light attenuation coefficient (kd) will be done, also field survey

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measurements of color (CDOM), turbidity and Chl a will be taken to estimate the

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contribution of these water quality constituents to light attenuation. Data collection will be

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done in conjunction with the field surveys, that is, quarterly for three years for a total of 12

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sampling events for each transect. Water samples will collected at a depth of 0.5 meters

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with a 4.0-LVan Dorn Bottle and transferred into a clean bottles. Chl a samples will be

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taken and stored on ice until processed in the laboratory. After collecting the CDOM and
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Chl a samples, salinity, turbidity, and temperature will be measured with a YSI multiprobe.

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Vertical profiles of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) will be obtained at depth

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intervals of 0.5 m with a LICOR, LI-193 spherical quantum sensor, and a LI-1400 data

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logger. The attenuation coefficient (kd, m1) of PAR will be calculated from those profiles.

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[159].

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References Cited
Bailey, N., & Peets, R. (2009). TMDL Report DO TMDL for the Cross Canal-North Tidal
(WBID 1625) and DO and Nutrient Tidal (Chlorophyll-a).
Chen, Z., Doering, P. H., Ashton, M., & Orlando, B. A. (2014). Mixing Behavior of Colored
Dissolved Organic Matter and Its Potential Ecological Implication in the
Caloosahatchee River Estuary, Florida. Estuaries and Coasts, 1-13.
Christian, D., & Sheng, Y. P. (2003). Relative influence of various water quality parameters
on light attenuation in Indian River Lagoon. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,
57(5), 961-971.
Corbett, C.A., and J.A. Hale. (2006). Development of water quality targets for Charlotte
Harbor, Florida using seagrass light requirements. Florida Scientist 69: 3650.
Erickson, S. (2010). Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve Seagrass Monitoring Design. FDEP
Publication.
Hammond, D. G., & Tomasko, D. A. (2012). Numeric Nutrient and Dissolved Oxygen Criteria
Development Using a Self-Referencing Approach: A Southwest Florida Estuary Case
Study. Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation, 2012(11), 4997-5007.
Le, C., Hu, C., English, D., Cannizzaro, J., Chen, Z., Kovach, C., ... & Carder, K. L. (2013).
Inherent and apparent optical properties of the complex estuarine waters of Tampa
Bay: what controls light?. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 117, 54-69.
Leary, R. E., & Preserves, C. H. A. (2012). Seagrass Dynamics within the Estero Bay Aquatic
Preserve Along Fixed Transects.
McPherson, B. F., & Miller, R. L. (1987). The vertical attenuation of light in Charlotte Harbor,
a shallow, subtropical estuary, south-western Florida. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf
Science, 25(6), 721-737.
Moheimani, N. R., Borowitzka, M. A., Isdepsky, A., & Sing, S. F. (2013). Standard methods for
measuring growth of algae and their composition. In Algae for Biofuels and Energy
(pp. 265-284). Springer Netherlands.
Moreno Madrin, M. J., & Fischer, A. (2012, December). The Validity CHLOROPHYLL-alpha
Estimation by Sun Induced Fluorescence in Estuarine Waters: AN Analysis of LongTerm (2003-2011) Water Data from Tampa Bay, Florida (usa). In AGU Fall Meeting
Abstracts (Vol. 1, p. 06).

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Paulson, C., Finch, R., & Sandquist, R. (2002). Adaptive ManagementAn ITERATIVE
APPROACH TO ACHIEVE WATER QUALITY GOALS FASTER AND MORE COSTEFFECTIVELY ON THE SNAKE RIVER. Proceedings of the Water Environment
Federation, 2002(8), 673-686.
Sherwood, E. T., Greening, H. S., Janicki, A. J., & Karlen, D. J. (2015). Tampa Bay estuary:
Monitoring long-term recovery through regional partnerships. Regional Studies in
Marine Science.
Stearns, C. (2007). Standard Procedures for Seagrass Monitoring for the Charlotte Harbor
Aquatic Preserves Seagrass Transect Monitoring Program. FDEP Publication.
Tyler, D., Rhew, K. (2008). TMDL Report Dissolved Oxygen TMDLs for Hendry Creek
(WBIDs 3258B and 3258B1). FDEP Publication.
Wainger, L. A. (2012). Opportunities for reducing total maximum daily load (TMDL)
compliance costs: Lessons from the Chesapeake Bay. Environmental science &
technology, 46(17), 9256-9265.

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Neilson Ayers
1422 Loma Linda Drive Fort Myers, Florida 33919
239.274.3301 ayersneil@gmail.com
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICE EXPERIENCE
Lee County Environmental Laboratory, Field Technician, Fort Myers, FL
May 2011 Aug. 2015
Collected field samples for lab analysis, including groundwater, surface water (marine,
estuarine, fresh), drinking water and rainwater.
Operated, maintained and calibrated YSI 600 series datasondes, Hach turbidity meters and CL2
kits, LiCor PAR apparatus and other instrumentation used in field data collection.
Operated and trailered small boats
Developed multi-linear regression model of light attenuation in estuarine and coastal waters to
QA/QC Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) In Situ data collection.
Estero Bay Aquatic & Buffer Preserves, Environ. Specialist, Ft. Myers Beach, FL Oct. 2001 - June 2009
Performed and supervised exotic plant removal and animal (feral hog) removal.
Assisted with prescription burns. (I have taken firefighting courses: S-130, S-190, S-211 and S214 Engine Academy)
Assisted in performing continuous water monitoring with YSI 6600 series sondes.. Performed
tributary water quality sampling including field parameters.
Performed seagrass monitoring in Estero Bay and Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves
Member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, including manatee capture for FWRI
Acted as liaison for and with the Lee County Marine Law Enforcement Task Force
BIA, Big Cypress Indian Reservation, Wildfire Fighter/Tech., Big Cypress, FL
Feb. 1996 - July 1996
Performed wildfire firefighting and prescription burning. Operated heavy equipment, off-road
vehicles, fire equipment, etc. Drove and operated Class 6 fire engines in initial fire attack.
LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE
U.S. Army, Artillery Officer, United States and Vietnam
May 1967 Sept. 1969
Performed combat and command duties as Forward Observer, Fire Direction Officer, and
Battery Executive Officer in US and in the Central Highlands of the Republic of South Vietnam.
EDUCATION
Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL
Expected Graduation June 2016
Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies
Relevant coursework: Computer Simulation and Modeling, Conservation Strategies for a
Sustainable Future, Environmental Biology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental GIS,
General Ecology, Introduction to Environmental Policy, Southwest Florida History and Statistics
with Calculus.
For Senior Project in Environmental Studies class, conducted the study: Regional Water
Resources Management Research at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Internship at Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program. Developed a GIS method to reduce
bias in their water quality random sampling program. The method was adapted by CHNEP,
Florida FWC, (FWRI) and Lee County Environmental Laboratory.
Edison College, Fort Myers, FL
2007
Associate of Arts Degree with Honors, 4.0 GPA
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Timeline and Special Resources Needs


Phase 1

Secure Funding

Three months

Notify and coordinate with local


environmental agencies (FDEP,
SFWMD, Estero Bay Aquatic
Preserve, Estero Bay Preserve State
Park). Arrange for lab tests at Lee
County Environmental Lab (LCEL)
Phase 2

Select sites

One month

Perform surveys and sampling

Every three months (quarterly) for


three years

Phase 3

Analyze data

One months

Write article (report) on the study

Two months

and results
Publish

Unknown

Special Resource Needs


Boat and trailer
SCUBA equipment
YSI 6600 series datasonde
Lab tests

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