Health of the Guana Research Reserve looks pretty good

Scientists show visitors research in action at symposium

Visitors get to see living organisms with microscopes in the GTM Research Reserve lab during the State of the Reserve Symposium.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla – Could green toxic slime that made headlines in recent summers show up here in Northeast Florida? Visitor's learn about the health of the GTM Research Reserve.

Local GTM Research Reserve scientists brought the public into the lab to showcase orgasimns hiding on our water.

Some of the tiny plants under the microscope cause massive coastal problems when they bloom. 

At a day long symposium highlighting the overall health of the Guana, the sentiment is encouring about its condition. 

Live Tintinnid plankton under the microscope are one of millions floating in the Guana Lake.

By monitoring the water quality and the amount of plants and animals that call Guana Tolomato Matanzas home, the overall health of the preserve gets a good to fair grade according to Dr. Nikki Dix, who directs the centers research.

So far massive blooms of different kinds of algae that impacted  areas south from the Indian River Lagoon, and beyond to the St. Lucie Estuary, Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf of Mexico have not moved up into NE Florida.

Local scientists like Dr. Dix want to make sure our estuaries stay healthy and balanced which requires monitoring the reserve to study the problem.

Scientists shared their progress and research with the public at the education visitor center and focused on the water nutrients in the 74,000 acres of coastal lands.

The threat of over enrichment from excessive nutrients like fertilizers and septic tanks can trigger blooms of harmful algae that cause the green slime from cyanobacteria.

The ancient microorganisms can occur naturally in many bodies of water in low concentrations, but in the presence of certain nutrients, the colonies can thrive and grow out of control.

This process called, eutrophication, produces harmful toxins and side effects for both animals and humans.

The hands on symposium got visitors involved using scientific instruments along with workshop sessions that explained how to minimize harmful human impacts estuarine environment.

About the Author: