Measuring, Documenting, and Understanding the B2O “Degraded State”
Over the next few months, we will closely monitor all physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the B2O in its current “degraded state” to establish a baseline for the system and determine the timescales across which key parameters change (or cycle) on the reef. The physical conditions (light, temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll, blue-green algae, and dissolved oxygen) of the B2O will be monitored continuously and transmitted to public displays in the “Ocean Gallery” at Biosphere 2 and to our new B2O website (to be released in 2019). Twice daily, we will also collect water and sediment samples from the B2O to measure the key chemical (e.g., nutrients, alkalinity / acid buffering capacity, cations, anions) and microbial (bacterial, viral) constituents of the B2O. Molecular sequencing will be performed for taxonomic and functional classification of microbial communities. Postdoctoral scholar Ty Roach— an expert in the role of bacteria and viruses in biogeochemical cycling, energy flow, and community structuring in coral reef ecosystems – will be leading the microbial surveying and sequencing of the B2O. His postdoctoral research bridges the Biosphere 2 experimental facility and Ruth Gates’s lab at the Hawaiian Institute of Marine Biology (http://gatescorallab.com/). In parallel, the macro-biome (e.g., algae, invertebrates, fish) will be monitored ~monthly using conventional reef survey techniques and state-of-the-art 3D photo mosaic technology (in collaboration with Stuart Sandin at Scripps Institution of Oceanography). We will leverage this sampling routine to expand both our citizen science and undergraduate programs at the Biosphere 2.