Sensing and Educating the Nexus to Sustain Ecosystems (SENSE): A Kentucky-West Virginia Partnership

  1. Mindy Armstead
  2. Susan Hendricks,
  3. Bill Ford
  4. Jimmy Fox
  5. David White
Marshall University, Natural Resources and the Environment, Murray State University, Hancock Biological Station, University of Kentucky, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky  

Abstract: The incidence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) has been increasing nationwide. Factors influencing the blooms often include increased nutrient loading from agricultural lands, and elevated temperatures and decreased flow associated with energy production. Evaluating sustainability as production of food and energy tax limited aquatic resources is the focus of an ongoing Kentucky-West Virginia research partnership. Sensing and Educating the Nexus to Sustain Ecosystems (SENSE) is a research program funded by NSF-EPSCoR (2016-2020) that supports cyber-infrastructure development in the partner states to gain insight into the influence of food and energy production on aquatic ecosystems and specifically to HAB formation. Real-time monitoring of water quality parameters associated with HAB development is implemented to support watershed-scale modeling with the aim of establishing relationships between water quality and bloom formation, better predict bloom development, and potentially reducing the incidence of HABS in the target water bodies, Kentucky Lake and the Ohio River. Inclusion of STEM early career faculty and students in the research endeavor is also a significant goal of the grant. Preliminary results are presented to promote dissemination of the dataset and facilitate collaboration.