Eyes on the Bay

As part of the Eyes on the Bay monitoring program, Dr. Walter Boynton's group manages the near-real-time continuous monitoring program, referred to as CONMON, and a water-quality mapping program, known as DATAFLOW.

CONMON was designed to collect water quality data in an effort to discern the links between water quality, harmful algal blooms, and fish kills. Instruments stationed on platforms throughout the Bay measure nine aspects of water quality every 15 minutes from April through November.

While CONMON provides temporal data in specific locations, DATAFLOW instruments, proposed for use by Dr. Boynton, provide spatial data. Prior to DATAFLOW, intensive water quality monitoring of shallow water habitats was cost prohibitive. The DATAFLOW sensors, conceived by Dr. Christopher Madden and refined by Dr. Boynton, are dragged behind a small, fast boat, recording water quality data, location, and time every 3 to 5 seconds. About 5,000 measurements can be taken along an 18-mile stretch of the Patuxent River, in comparison with 6 or 7 obtained with traditional monitoring equipment. The data collected in the Patuxent River by Boynton's group is making it possible to observe the spatial movement and interrelationships of organisms at different times of the year.