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Caree Weisz

Graduate Trainee

On Hawaii Island, Hilo Bay has long been recognized as an area of poor water quality, sometimes containing high bacteria levels unsafe to swim in.  The current method for monitoring recreational water quality tests the level of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) present in a sample of seawater, however, this method is limited in effectiveness by a 24-hour lag in test results that could affect the timing of beach advisories.

For my Master’s thesis research, I would like to develop methods used in the early prediction of high FIB levels so that more accurate and timely warnings can be issued to the public.  To do this, I will be collecting water quality data in Hilo Bay throughout the year, during wet and dry seasons, to create maps of FIB patterns and examine how they change depending on rain levels.  I will also use this water quality data to compare FIB concentrations to other water parameters, such as salinity and turbidity, to determine the best predictors of high FIB levels.  The accuracy of FIB prediction from these methods will be tested using data from a real-time continuously monitoring water quality buoy located in Hilo Bay.  If successful, these methods could be utilized in other areas around the world suffering from poor water quality.

Contact Information


2525 Correa Road, HIG 238 Honolulu, HI 96822