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Mote scientists use drones to study red tide – Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida 2021-07-20 22:44:05 –

Sarasota, Florida — For toxic algae, aerial views may help form better photographs for people on earth.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium scientists are studying how drones can help form a more complete real-time view of red tides.

“This is essentially the same data that satellites provide on a much finer scale, much more real-time, and faster,” said Cody Cole, a staff biologist involved in ocean manipulation and red tide research. ..

Cole explains that a drone with a special sensor can first capture a photo and cover a large band in a short amount of time.

“The satellite may make it an entire pixel, but I have 212 images there,” he said, showing a photo of a recent flight.

Mote recently launched a drone near Lidokey and flew the drone for the first time in the red tide, Cole said. Researchers are looking at the wavelength of light reflected from water.

“A particular species of phytoplankton reflects light of a particular wavelength in a particular pattern, so we’re looking at the light in that spectrum,” Cole said.

Cole explains that he connects raw images to a program to extract data and eventually stitches them together to create a map.

“The overall idea behind using this data is to develop our own algorithm based on what the satellite is using. This is the red tide we need to go and see here. It’s likely to be, “said Cole.

So far, due to the current flowering of the Tampa Bay area, the crew has collected over 1,200 tons of red tide-related debris in Pinellas County.

A spokesman for the county said he was cautiously optimistic about the outlook for Tampa Bay, but noted the presence of high concentrations of red tide along the southern beaches. They expect the red tide to be fluid, but the terrestrial winds will continue to carry aerosols and dead fish to the shore.

“Our sampling also shows that cell numbers are declining. We’re not outside the forest, but things are positive from a bay perspective. But on the coast, long There is a significant amount of flowering from the Boat Key to the Dunedin area, “said Eric Sutton, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Sutton said he was expanding sampling there, providing aviation resources such as helicopters.

“I want to be optimistic, but all the indicators are that this may be sticking to us for the first period you know, at least for the next few weeks,” Sutton said. I did.

Meanwhile, Cole is working on an image from the drone.

“Ultimately, it’s a good idea to regularly survey all hotspots in the bay and estuary red tides. If you start to see an increase in numbers that may not be detected by microscope samples, you can do something. Maybe, sooner about that, “Cole said.



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