Inorganic Nutrients

Information associated with inorganic nutrient research

PIE LTER water-column nutrient and particulate transects along the Rowley River Estuary, Massachusetts, 2017-2019


Water chemistry including nutrient concentrations for various forms of N, P, C, as well as suspended sediments and light extinction coefficients, are determined from bi-annual or tri-annual nutrient transects from the mouth of the Rowely River estuary to near its head about 6 km upstream.  Three sets of grab samples and sonde measurements are taken at lower, mid, and upper stations of the estuary, at stations locations that may vary depending on the tide. These samples are generally collected in Spring, Summer, and Fall to capture conditions through the growing season.



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General sampling protocol

Samplings for nutrients and water quality are conducted  two or three times over the growing season:  Spring - pre growing season and typically characterized by seasonal high river discharge (spring freshet) and Fall - post growing  season and generally  lower discharge, and if 3 times,  Summer - period of high productivity.  Grab samples and sonde measurements are taken at 3 stations along a 6 Km transect from the mouth of the Rowley River estuary to its head: lower, mid, and upper estuary.  Stations sampled may vary depending on the tide stage during sampling.


Conductivity (and salinity) and temperature are measured using appropriate probes on a water quality sonde (YSI 6600 Water Quality Data System).  Water quality sondes are backed up by field thermometers and refractometers.


Water samples for nutrients are collected in acid-washed, 1-liter polycarbonate bottles.  Samples are transported to the field lab and filtered within three hours of collection through GF/F filters.  Filtered samples are immediately preserved for later analysis of dissolved materials, and filters are preserved for later analysis of particulates.


Contact Nat Weston ( for more details on sampling.


Data Qualifiers

NA: Not available

NS: No sample

E: Estimated

TBA: To be analyzed

BD: Below detection

S: Suspect, use with caution


Version 01: March 14, 2022, data and metadata created for years 2017 through 2019.   Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007_Jun2019.xlsm 6/7/19 12:58 PM for QA/QC to EML 2.1.0



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