INVESTIGATORS:

Dr. Klaus Moeltner, Agriculture and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
Dr. Hosein Foroutan, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech
Dr. Shane Ross, Aerospace and Ocean Engineerin, Virginia Tech
Dr. David Schmale, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

This is an interdisciplinary faculty seed grant project, funded by the Global Change Center (GCC) at Virginia Tech, and the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, Virginia Tech.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES:

Research objective 1:

Develop a fine spatial scale forecasting system for brevetoxins (= airborne toxins relaeased by red tide algal blooms) for the southern Florida gulf region.

Research objective 2:

Determine the socio-economic benefits of such an improved forecasting system to the general population. Generate estimates of the dollar-valued per household benefits (“Willingness-to-pay”) for the envisioned forecasting system.

Research objective 3:

Foster ties between Virginia Tech and the Mote Marine Laboratory, the premier clearinghouse for RT research in the gulf area.

Field visit Dec. 2-5, 2019

PIs Foroutan, Moeltner, and Ross, reinforced by senior research associate Regina Hanlon, and graduate student Landon Bilyeu, visited the Sarasota, FL, region in early December. The primary objectives of the field visit were to (i) take air and water samples along local beaches, (ii) run focus group sessions to learn how red tide-impacted air quality has affected local residents, and (ii) meet with researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory to explore avenues for collaboration for this project and other red tide-related research challenges.

The visit also included a reception at the Bird Key Yacht Club to socialize with colleagues from Mote Marine. The reception was generously hosted by Jonathan and Michelle Mitchell, local residents and Mote supporters.

VT field team with impinger for air samples

VT field team with impinger for air samples

Water sampling under challenging conditions

Water sampling under challenging conditions

Focus group setup

Focus group setup

Reception with colleagues from Mote Marine

Reception with colleagues from Mote Marine