Dr. Ashley Smyth, a Water Institute Affiliate and Assistant Professor of Biogeochemistry in the Soil and Water Sciences (SWS) Department at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center, will lead a multi-agency, multi-year effort to study the role of shellfish in mitigating water quality issues in the Guana Lake and Guana River in St. Johns County. Dr. Smyth and colleagues Dr. Christine Angelini (UF Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences), Dr. Shirley Baker (UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation), Dr. Peter Ifju (UF Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), and Dr. AJ Reisinger (UF Department of SWS), were awarded $595,000 by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative to conduct the project.

Currently, water quality issues related to excess nutrients are leading to algal blooms and low oxygen in the water, which negatively impact oysters and mussels. According to Smyth, “there is a water quality problem causing deterioration in the ecosystem that people enjoy, where wildlife thrives, and that benefits the environment and economy. This research will help the community develop restoration and management plans.” To learn more about the project, click here.

Dr. Smyth was also recently featured in a national interview by Florida News Nation and WMNF radio interview regarding potential impacts of the breach at the Piney Point wastewater reservoir that contains phosphogypsum waste.

Dr. Smyth is affiliated with Florida Sea Grant, participates in the Florida Water and Climate Alliance and recently co-authored a UF/IFAS Extension EDIS publication on FAQs related to Climate Change and Florida.

April 27, 2021