In response to the 2016 harmful algal blooms in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida Master Naturalists in St Lucie County are undertaking an innovative new test pilot program to address the need to obtain long-term data on algae in the estuary. This program is titled the Volunteer Algae Monitoring Program (a.k.a. VAMP).
An elite team of UF/IFAS Florida Master Naturalists is engaged on the issue. The UF/IFAS Natural Resources Extension Agent provided training, supplies and WaterWatch chemistry kits for the VAMP team to conduct algae collection on a monthly basis. Algae samples are analyzed by the Laughinghouse Lab at the UF/IFAS Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center. By engaging Florida Master Naturalists on the issue, we increase data and real-time local information, while engaging the community and bringing science into homes.
UF faculty on the VAMP team include Dr. Dail Laughinghouse, Assistant Professor of Applied Phycology with UF/IFAS Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, and Dr. Lisa Krimsky, UF/IFAS Regional Specialized Water Agent for South Florida. The St. Lucie County facilitator is Ken Gioeli, Natural Resources Extension Agent with the UF/IFAS Extension St Lucie County. Florida Master Naturalists comprising the elite team are Dr. Susan Hamburger, Neil Stover, Karl Mangino and Vicki Cowles.
Florida Master Naturalist Susan Hamburger collects water samples. PHOTO BY KEN GIOELI
Florida Master Naturalist Karl Mangino conducts WaterWatch dissolved oxygen tests. PHOTO BY SUSAN HAMBURGER
Florida Master Naturalist Neil Stover uses lugol to fix his algae samples. PHOTO BY KEN GIOELI
Florida Master Naturalist Vicki Cowles refrigerates algae samples. These samples are shipped to the Laughinghouse Lab at the UF/IFAS Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center. PHOTO BY SUSAN HAMBURGER