Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Khiem Nguyen, University of Maryland, College Park

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Profiling the Summer Seasonal Characteristics of Background Suspended Solids and Resuspendable Sediment for SAV Site-Selection Criteria


The wellbeing of the Chesapeake's Bay's diminished submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is closely tied to turbidity, but little is understood about the determinants of this water quality parameter. In order to refine SAV site-selection criteria, this study profiles the physical properties of suspended solids as they affect the scattering of light and cause turbidity. A device, the ACECam, was built to take images and collect water samples that contain suspended particles. Along with other tools, the ACECam provided data that was analyzed for particle properties, including size distribution and particle concentration. Such properties were used to define the particle behavior prior to and after agitation and how this affects turbidity. While there was little difference between the pre-suspension and post-suspension turbidity histograms, the "d50 vs. secchi depth" and "particle concentration vs. secchi depth" plots demonstrated a strong relationship between particle size and light scattering, as well as particle concentration and light scattering. Small particle size and higher particle concentrations more readily scatter light and reduce water clarity.