Water Quality Monitoring Project, 2011, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Most marine animals and plants go through their entire life cycle completely surrounded by seawater. Healthy marine ecosystems depend on good water quality to maintain their productivity and species diversity. Water quality is an overall evaluation based on a suite of measurements and analyses conducted in the field and laboratory. Water temperature, salt content (salinity) and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations are some of the environmental factors measured by scientists. Significant changes in these and other factors can have negative effects on marine life, including increased susceptibility to disease and even death. Marine organisms may become stressed when conditions change beyond what they are able to tolerate.