Published Research

Water Quality

Testing anti-fouling coatings with special emphasis on coastal observing systems

Martin, N., L.D. Coen, A.J. Martignette, E.C. Milbrandt

Published In 2013

Florida Scientist 76(2):259–247

Biological fouling is the accumulation and growth of aquatic organisms on submerged surfaces. Fouling can reduce the operation time and quality of data from aquatic real-time sensors. The SCCF Marine Laboratory currently has seven ‘River, Estuary and Coastal Observation Network’ (RECON) real-time sensor arrays deployed in the waters throughout southwest Florida. This study’s goal was to compare eight commercially available anti-fouling coatings at three RECON stations (Redfish Pass, Gulf of Mexico and Shell Point). At all locations, PVC frames holding six plates (each ∼10.2cm2) with various treatments were deployed. At the RECON sites, plates were deployed for four months and sampled monthly using digital photography. Plate images were analyzed using image analysis software Coral Point Count, for percent cover of organisms such as biofilm and barnacles. Four copper-based coating types were the most effective at preventing fouling, particularly by damaging barnacles and amphipod tubes, especially at high fouling locations. Using the correct coating type at a given RECON site is essential in preventing fouling while also minimizing down-time for redeployment.