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Water Quality Monitoring at GTM Research Reserve Quick Topics

GTM Research Reserve participates in the System-wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) provides standardized data on national estuarine environmental trends while allowing the flexibility to assess coastal management issues of regional or local concern. The principal mission of the SWMP is to develop quantitative measurements of short-term variability and long-term changes in the integrity and biodiversity of representative estuarine ecosystems and coastal watersheds for the purposes of contributing to effective coastal zone management. The GTM Research Reserve program has three main elements: water quality, weather and nutrient/chlorophyll analyses. Both the weather station and the datalogger at Pellicer Creek have satellite telemetry which provides near real-time data availability.

The water quality component is four dataloggers that continuously measure:

  • Water temperature.
  • Conductivity/salinity.
  • Dissolved oxygen.
  • Turbidity.
  • Water level.
  • pH.
Datalogger and researcher

The datalogger at Pellicer Creek

The weather component is a weather station located at the mouth of Pellicer Creek that continuously measures:

  • Temperature
  • Relative humidity.
  • Atmospheric pressure.
  • Rainfall.
  • Wind speed and direction.
  • Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)

Calibrating the weather station

The third SWMP element involves nutrient/chlorophyll analysis of water samples collected monthly at each of the four water quality stations, in addition to a diel sampling regime carried out once a month at the Pellicer Creek site. Water samples collected at each site are analyzed for:

  • Nitrite.
  • Nitrate.
  • Ammonium.
  • Total nitrogen.
  • Total soluble nitrogen.
  • Orthophosphate.
  • Total phosphorus.
  • Total soluble phosphorus.
  • Silica.
  • Particulate organic carbon.
  • Total suspended solids.
  • Chrolophyll a
  • Phaeophytin.
  • Color.

All SWMP data is housed and served through the NERRS Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO) which provides quality assurance and quality control for the Reserve system. The CDMO is also responsible for maintaining and updating the NERRS standard operating procedures so that all SWMP data are collected in the same way across the nation. Archived and near-real time water quality, weather and nutrient/chlorophyll data may be accessed directly via an interactive map at: cdmo.baruch.sc.edu/QueryPages/googlemap.cfm.

Other agencies, including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Aquaculture and St. Johns River Water Management District also conduct water quality sampling within and near the boundaries of GTM Research Reserve. More information about SWMP and other water quality monitoring programs within GTM Research Reserve are available in  the GTM Research Reserve Site Profile (pdf - 4.46 MB). All research-related inquiries at GTM Research Reserve should be directed to the Research Coordinator, Nikki Dix, at: Nikki.Dix@dep.state.fl.us.

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Last updated: December 06, 2013

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