Wetlands the world over are important for a lot of reasons. For one, they are predicted to help buffer the effects of rising sea levels predicted alongside other effects of climate change globally. But on a more local scale, wetlands are important because they act as large living filters that increase water quality while at the same time providing habitat for large numbers of waterfowl and amphibian species.
This is no less true for wetlands at the Everglades Wetland Research Park, a center in Naples, Florida run by Florida Gulf Coast University. Because of their significance to the local wildlife and as some of the world’s most prominent wetlands, scientists at the university have been tracking parameters on the water in the Everglades for years.
Researchers are looking to capture the benefits that the wetlands have on the region’s water quality through data. Measurements also inform scientific endeavors at the research park undertaken by its students and faculty.
To capture the continuous monitoring data needed for the job, officials at the research park worked with NexSens Technology to source the gear needed, including radio-telemetry data loggers, water quality sondes and pressure transducers as well as web datacenter services.
The wetland monitoring network consists of two main stations, one deployed in the Spartina Marsh and another in a freshwater wetland near university facilities. Both use YSI 6920 water quality sondes to measure parameters including temperature, conductivity, salinity and pH. To track water level, each station also has an APG PT-500 pressure transducer.
The largest difference between the two stations is the telemetry setup that they use. At one, the NexSens 4100-iSIC Data Logger is equipped with radio telemetry only — it broadcasts to a base radio nearby. The other station, a 5200-iSIC Data Logger, can communicate via radio but also Ethernet, permitting it to be directly connected to the university’s intraweb.
Measurements captured from both data loggers are posted online in real time to a NexSens WQData web datacenter, which pushes the info to the Everglades Wetland Research Park website. Data can then be viewed by the public and easily accessed by students completing coursework. Officials at the research park are also hopeful that the continuous, long-term data the systems collect may one day help spur restoration projects nearby.
This fully pre-configured system utilizes cellular, radio, or satellite telemetry and solar charging to create a truly plug-and-play data collection and sensor interface platform.
The YSI 6920 V2-1 sonde is an economical logging system, ideal for spot sampling or short-term monitoring and profiling of temperature, conductivity, pH, ORP, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.
The PT-500 is a rugged submersible pressure transmitter designed for highly accurate water level measurement in streams, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies.