[Coral-List] Portable, easy to use water testing kits

Garnet Hooper garnethooper at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 14 18:06:06 EST 2017

Hi Doug and coral listers,

a useful tool for investigating spatial patterns in (surface) turbidity is Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) which is aboard the NASA Terra (EOS AM-1) and Aqua (EOS PM-1) satellites. Maps of modelled surficial Total Suspended Solids (TSS) for an area can be generated that show turbidity generation, which can help to identify sources (e.g. Natural/anthropogenic), spatial vectors, scales and periodicity in turbidity generation for a given area. 

I've used this method, in addition to benthic water quality loggers, to investigate natural and anthropogenic turbidity generation during a construction project in NW Australia with multiple dredging scenarios (types of dredger/combinations in use). Despite some limitations, this method provided valuable information and context to the assessment. 

I would certainly suggest considering this method as an investigative tool (in conjunction with loggers), but also to support design of long-term water quality monitoring programs. It is a "fancy technology that might impress people", and it can provide information on hot spots, it can be used identify spatial patterns (including connectivity between sampling locations). Be mindful that the method does have limitations (e.g. It can't penetrate cloud cover, it identifies turbidity at or near the surface only, and doesn't identify nutrients), and you need to find a service provider, but it is worth considering for relevant, larger scale projects. Unfortunately, that probably doesn't help you much with your query Benjamin Cowburn!

Best regards,


Garnet Hooper
Marine ecologist / consultant
Perth, Western Australia

> On 15 Feb. 2017, at 1:45 am, Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:
> Ben,
>    A review of indicators of water quality on the Great Barrier Reef by
> Fabricius et al found that turbidity (or water clarity or visibility) was
> the best single indicator among 38 tested.  They write in their abstract
> "Turbidity was the best predictor of biota"  It is very low tech, cheap,
> quick and easy to take.  Disadvantages are that it doesn't impress people
> as being fancy technical science, and it can't differentiate causes, like
> plankton and nutrients, vs sediment, vs chemical pollution, etc.  One of
> the problems for testing with things like nutrients is that they come in
> pulses, and you have to test frequently to catch pulses.  Also, it would
> take a lot of expensive sampling to detect spatial patterns, and if you
> don't have the spatial pattern you can miss the hot spots (and clean
> areas).  At least sediment may be visible from the shore or a boat or a
> plane and so the spatial and temporal patterns can be seen.  A simple photo
> can show you patterns that would take hundreds or thousands of samples to
> detect.  Runoff is typically fresh water, so it floats on the surface and
> at least initially the finest sediment is suspended in that water at the
> surface, making it easy to see from the air.  Sediment pulse events might
> suggest some aspects of the spatial and temporal patterns of nutrient
> runoff as well, since they may both be correlated with rain-produced runoff
> events.  Of course, some rivers might have lots of sediment runoff but
> little nutrient runoff, and others the opposite.
> Cheers,  Doug
> Fabricius et al 2012.  A bioindicator system for water quality on inshore
> coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.  Marine Pollution Bulletin 65:
> 320-332.
> https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Katharina_Fabricius/publication/305655161_Fabricius_Bioindicators_MPB_final_for_ResearchGate/links/57982ac108ae33e89faedfaf.pdf
> On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 6:36 AM, Benjamin Cowburn <
> benjamindcowburn at googlemail.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'm trying to find an easy and robust way of checking water quality (esp..
>> nutrients) on a reef. I've found various kits available for aquarists e.g.
>> this
>> <http://www.swelluk.com/api-reef-master-test-kit/?gclid=
>> Cj0KEQiA8orFBRCEpODivaOft_EBEiQAy3mlfaDNakIGStWelz_
>> ..
>> Are these appropriate for use in the field? Any recommendations or
>> suggestions of how to do water quality testing, without a dedicated lab
>> would be welcome!
>> Cheers,
>> Benjamin Cowburn
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> -- 
> Douglas Fenner
> Contractor for NOAA NMFS, and consultant
> "have regulator, will travel"
> PO Box 7390
> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA
> phone 1 684 622-7084
> Join the International Society for Reef Studies.  Membership includes a
> subscription to the journal Coral Reefs, and there are discounts for pdf
> subscriptions and developing countries.  Coral Reefs is the only journal
> that is ALL coral reef articles, and it has amazingly LOW prices compared
> to other journals.  Check it out!  www.fit.edu/isrs/
> "Belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."- Jim Beever..
>  "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts."-
> Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
> Last year was- again- the hottest year on record.
> http://www.sciencemag.org/news/sifter/last-year-was-again-hottest-record
> 99 Reasons 2016 was a good year.
> https://medium.com/future-crunch/99-reasons-why-2016-has-been-a-great-year-for-humanity-8420debc2823#.9iznf7pfk
> Check items 42-59.
> 43. Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow
> at all in 2016, for the third year in a row.  Scientific American
> <http://futurecrunch.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6321feeb3ffd42b0e44a01616&id=18ef49d1e6&e=20926c12c5>
> 44. renewables now account for more newly installed capacity than any other
> form of electricity in the world, including coal.. Gizmodo
> <http://gizmodo.com/renewables-now-exceed-all-other-forms-of-new-power-gene-1788195297>
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