MELBOURNE, FLA. – Dr. John Trefry, professor in Florida Tech’s Department of Marine and Environmental Systems, has received $198,537 from the St. Johns
River Water Management District (SJRWMD) for an 18-month study of potentially toxic substances in the Indian River Lagoon. Dr. John Windsor, also a
professor in that department, will support Trefry in the research.
The two conducted the first lagoon-wide survey of metals and organic compounds 15 years ago. Under the new grant, they will examine the effectiveness of
efforts to reduce input of potentially toxic substances to this coastal environment since that first survey.
Project goals include determining if organic compounds and metals are increasing, decreasing or staying the same at some of the same locations evaluated 15
years ago by Trefry and Windsor. In addition, they will expand the geographic areas examined. At the previously tested and new locations, they will report
concentrations of trace metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides and some other potentially toxic substances in sediments and their uptake in clams in
the lagoon system. The clams are considered an indicator of the accumulation of trace metals and organic compounds by organisms in the lagoon.
The current study, called Tox-2, will focus initially on lagoon sediments and clams near Melbourne, Vero Beach and Mosquito Lagoon. During the second phase
of the project later this year, Trefry, Windsor and their students will collect sediment and clam samples near New Smyrna Beach, the Barge Canal in
Northern Brevard County, Cocoa, Patrick Air Force Base, and Sebastian.