Straits of Florida

OSTRICH cruises take place in the Straits of Florida (SOF) on the RV Walton Smith (upper left image). The SOF is bordered by Florida and the Florida Keys on the west and the Bahamas on the east. Flow through the SOF is dominated by the Florida Current that enters the southwestern SOF as part of the Loop Current from the Gulf of Mexico, with maximal flow along the western boundary (long arrows in upper right image), and exits the north SOF at its transition into the Gulf Stream.

Dynamically, this flow pattern creates horizontal (cross-Strait) and vertical structure in the flow field and associated temperature, salinity, and biological environments. Specifically, as is typical along western boundary currents, the isopycnals (layers of constant seawater density) tilt upward on the western edge, creating shallow dense, cool, salty water, and an upwelling of nutrients.

OSTRICH 2015

OSTRICH 2015

OSTRICH 2014

OSTRICH 2014 Research Cruise

Cruise Tracks

Image credit: RSMAS (left); KL Robinson (right)