The Alfacs Bay is a 12 Km long and 4 Km wide lagoon, with an average depth of 3 m. The lagoon is partially separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a sand barrier that leaves an opening of about 3 Km. The dynamics of the bay is influenced by a variety of natural and anthropogenic physical processes. In addition, the bay receives inputs of fresh groundwater. The circulation in Alfacs Bay is typical of a positive stratified estuary.
The Alfacs Bay ecosystem is highly productive in contrast with the oligotrophic adjacent open waters of the Mediterranean. This has allowed the development of important aquaculture (finfish and shellfish) operations. However, occurrence of HABs has caused important economic losses and has required the establishment of a monitoring system of target phytoplankton species and shellfish toxicity.
The MariaBox system will be installed in a selected location in the bay, close to the regional Aquacultural Centre, using SGX’s buoy for the integration.
Measurements with conventional and already installed systems will be made, in order to allow the direct validation of the MariaBox sensors and system: a) continuous record of key physical variables at a reference station in the centre of the bay, using an autonomous profiler SCAMP (Self Contained Autonomous MicroProfiler, Precision Measurement Engineering) probe, and b) spatio-temporal distribution of toxic blooms in Alfacs Bay.