Water Monitoring

Water monitoring is important because all animals and plants that live in water have a set of preferred conditions including things like temperature, salinity and oxygen levels, in which they need in order to thrive. If the preferred conditions or ranges are not right, they may get sick or even die.

The problems facing most waterways are complex and vary greatly from region to region. Monitoring water provides important information on the assaults facing waterways so they can be eliminated and nature can be restored. More importantly, having monitoring devices in place can serve as insurance that future assaults will be stopped or eliminated before they can do harm.

What is the ORCA Kilroy™?
Kilroy™ is a water-quality monitor unlike any other. Hardly larger than a football, at a fraction of the cost of other sensors, Kilroy™ nimbly monitors the water's speed, direction, temperature, depth and has the ability to work with other manufacturer's instruments. It does so, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, monitoring the vital signs of our living waters.

Why do we need Kilroy?
Simply put, our oceans are in deep trouble. We have waters erupting in toxic blooms of algae, red tides bringing outbreaks of paralytic shellfish poisonings, and masses of fish washing up dead on shore. We have seals turning up with fungal infections, sea turtles covered in tumors, dolphins falling sick from mercury poisoning and we have lifeless waters called dead zones, spreading wider every year.

How does the ORCA Kilroy help?
Kilroy lets us monitor the physical, chemical and biological indicators of health in a particular body of water. More importantly, when we find signs of trouble, we can track them to their source, both in space and time. Until now, enforcement of pollution laws has been near impossible. We haven’t had the evidence to show who is polluting. Kilroy’s steady, reliable stream of affordable information will empower citizens, communities and their lawmakers alike to identify the source of water pollution and then work to stop it.

How does it do that?
Kilroy™ reads the water. Fluid though it appears, water flows in packets—packets that can be identified by their temperature, salinity, speed, direction—as well as other parameters. These packets of water have a tendency to either pick-up, carry, or drop payloads of sediments, nutrients, and pollutants. And when they do, Kilroy™ is there.

These payloads tend to pool in certain places called sinks. Yet for every sink, there is, of course, a source. And once again, Kilroy™ is there. Kilroy™ is designed to work in vast networks transmitting these vital signs over hundreds of miles of ocean. When bad things happen out there, Kilroy™ immediately tells us here, the 'who-what-when-and-where'. And with that knowledge comes the 'how,' toward healing the wounds. Click here to view technical information.

How did Kilroy™ get its name?
Kilroy was also a WWII legend, appearing as a cartoon character mysteriously scrawled here and there. Everywhere you went, “Kilroy was here." We at ORCA developed this device with the hope that it will soon become as ubiquitous, yet inconspicuous, as Kilroy was. We envision one day hanging our sign above a nation of revitalized and vibrant waters, proudly declaring, ‘Kilroy is here.’

Video tutorial: Accessing and plotting Kilroy data - Kilroy Academy Intro 101: The Kilroy Network (4:29 min.)

Learn the definitions and normal ranges of environmental variables measured by Kilroy in the Indian River Lagoon: Kilroy Terminology

Tony Cimaglia readies Kilroy for testing

Orca also monitors water with the Sentinel Program

Biological Monitoring Of Contaminants
Bivalves (oysters, clams, mussels, etc.) function as sentinels for biological monitoring of
contaminants because they accumulate a variety of toxic organic compounds and heavy metals from the ambient environment, have limited mobility and are fairly resistant to contaminant effects. Bivalves sequester a wide range of toxins that may be deleterious to human and ecosystem health with both long and short term exposures. Examples of these contaminants include: Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs), Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE), Heavy metals- including copper, zinc; Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) mercury, and others.

Monitoring Methodology
Aquacultured eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) are placed in a two-tiered structure with one chamber a fixed distance from the bottom of the water, and another on a sliding float held a fixed distance from the surface. This allows determination of where, within the water column, pollutants are circulating.

Oyster racks are deployed to a variety of sites within the monitoring region two to three weeks prior to the start of monitoring. Racks are also deployed at control sites during the entire monitoring period. Prior to deployment a subset of oysters are analyzed to determine baseline toxicity. The first oysters are collected from the field at both test and control sites and analyzed the day before the causal event (e.g. dredging) begins. Oysters are then collected biweekly, with the last oysters collected two weeks after the completion of the event.

Oysters are shelled, homogenized and analyzed for total toxicity in ORCA's lab using the Microtox® Basic Solid-Phase bioassay. Homogenized oysters from each sample are also sent to an EPA approved laboratory for analysis of individual pollutants (selected based on the particular concerns of the monitoring project).

Short-term Monitoring Applications
Projects that disturb sediments (e.g. dredging), aquaculture testing, measuring success
of mitigation efforts, etc.

Long-term Monitoring Applications
Water discharge compliance, ecological monitoring studies, regional comparisons of
habitat health (e.g. Watershed Report Cards), etc.

Emergency Applications
Collecting baseline information before, during and after a significant natural event
(e.g. hurricane, algal bloom, etc.) or man-made event (e.g. oil spill, overflow discharges, etc.).




Kilroy Monitoring
View map of Kilroy Monitoring Systems for State of Florida project.
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Live Kilroy Data
View live, realtime Kilroy data and meterorological data from the Ft. Pierce Inlet, FL.
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"ORCA’s Kilroy is
brilliant. The whole concept of a low-cost monitoring network is critical for understanding the ocean so we can better protect it.
- Sylvia Earle, Ph.D.
National Geographic



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