Spatial analysis of water quality parameters in Hilo Bay, Hawai'i

Authors: Gina Angela Badlowski*, Monmouth University, Jason E Adolf, Monmouth University, Geoffrey Fouad, Monmouth University
Topics: Environment, Marine and Coastal Resources, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: estuary, water quality, interpolation, monitoring, Hawai’i
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


Hilo Bay estuary, located on the northeastern side of Hawai’i Island, experiences variability in water quality parameters due to its numerous water inputs. This estuary experiences influxes of water from three sources: groundwater to the east, marine water from the north, and surface water from the Wailuku River to the west. High rainfall and river flow impacts Hilo Bay’s water quality including salinity, turbidity, and chlorophyll a concentration. Here, maps of Hilo Bay water quality were examined to assess spatial patterns of these important parameters. Exploring the patterns of these water quality parameters by creating inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation surfaces of survey points and clusters based on the Getis-Ord (Gi*) statistic before and after storm events has shown that water quality changes coincide with these events. Water quality maps after a storm show (1) an overall decrease in salinity, (2) a river plume with increased turbidity, and (3) elevated chlorophyll a concentrations offset from the river plume in the center of the bay. Using spatial analysis to analyze water quality throughout the entirety of Hilo Bay before and after storm events can lead to a better understanding of how this ecosystem is affected during these types of events, furthermore adopting this method of sampling and analysis allows for a greater representation of water quality all over the bay and can improve the monitoring of water quality in this important ecosystem.

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