Plum Island Ecosystems LTER Database

Acceptance and utilization of LTER data requires that:

(1) The Principal Investigator be sent a notice stating reasons for acquiring any data and a description of the publication intentions.
(2) The Principal Investigator of the data set be sent a copy of the report or manuscript prior to submission and be adequately cited in any resultant publications.
(3) A copy of any resultant publications should be sent to:

Principal Investigator
Ecosystems Center
Marine Biological Laboratory
7 MBL St.
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Dataset URLs:METADATA: HTML, Rich Text, XML(EML compliant)
DATA: Comma Delimited, Excel file with Metadata and data
Dataset ID:LTE-TIDE-BenChl.02
Dataset Title:Benthic algae chlorophyll measurements for Rowley River tidal creeks associated with long term fertilization experiments, Rowley and Ipswich, MA.
Investigator 1: 
First Name:Linda
Last Name:Deegan
Address line 1:The Ecosystems Center
Address line 2:Marine Biological Laboratory
Address line 3:7 MBL St.
City:Woods Hole
Zip Code:02543
Investigator 2: 
First Name:Bruce
Last Name:Peterson
Address line 1:The Ecosystems Center
Address line 2:Marine Biological Laboratory
Address line 3:7 MBL St.
City:Woods Hole
Zip Code:02544
Associate Investigators:Kate Morkeski
Keywords:PIE LTER, TIDE, primary production, organic matter, nutrients, creek, benthic, chlorophyll, mud Flat, algae, Spartina, marsh
Abstract:Benthic chlorophyl measurements of surface sediments (top 0-2cm) from a variety of habitats in saltmarsh tidal creeks of the Rowley River, Rowley and Ipswich, MA. Habitats include: mudflat, filamentous algae, tall Spartina alterniflora, short Spartina alterniflora and Spartina patens zones. The TIDE project aims to simulate eutrophication on a large scale by the addition of NO3- aiming to reach 70µM concentrations from May to September every year during the growing season. This fertilization of the marsh has been going on at Sweeney Creek since the 2004 growing season through 2011 and at Clubhead Creek in 2005 and then from 2009 till 2011.
Contact: Plum Island Ecosystems LTER Information Manager
The Ecosystems Center
Marine Biological Lab
7 MBL St
Woods Hole, MA 02543
Phone (508) 289 7485
Online URL:
Data File URL
Data File Name LTE-TIDE-BenChl
Beginning Date 6/1/2003
End Date 9/9/2009
Number of Data Records 3252
Other Files to Reference LTE-TC-BenChl
Availability Status Type 1
Quality Control Information
Maintenance Description
Log of Changes: Version 01: January 27, 2012, updated data and metadata. Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007.xlsm 1/18/12 4:51 PM for QA/QC to EML 2.1.0
Version 02: June 20, 2013 data and metadata updated to comply with importation to Drupal and LTER PASTA. Research location name and description updated.Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007.xlsm 3/14/13 12:02 PM for QA/QC to EML 2.1.0
Geographic Description "Sweeney Creek", off Rowley River, Ipswich, MA West Creek, off Rowley River, Rowley, MA. Clubhead Creek off Rowley River, Rowley, MA. Nelson Island Creek, off Rowley River, Rowley,  
Location Bounding Box          
West Bounding Coordinate -70.851 -70.852 -70.842 -70.836  
East Bounding Coordinate -70.845 -70.846 -70.836 -70.831  
North Bounding Coordinate 42.724 42.741 42.742 42.744  
South Bounding Coordinate 42.719 42.736 42.738 42.74  
OR if single point location          
Taxonomic Protocols
Organisms studied
Methods:Benthic Algae (Chlorophyll A) Sampling Protocol for TIDE
Frequency: Monthly, May thru September 
Field Equipment (stored in the TIDE benthic algae tool box):
50 ml syringes with tips cut off, knives, rulers, labeled 50 ml centrifuge tubes, extra labels and centrifuge tubes, pencil

For each transect collect the following number of samples in each habitat: 3 mudflat, 3 filamentous algae, 3 tall Spartina alterniflora, 3 Spartina patens, 3 short Spartina alterniflora 

Collect samples at low tide in order to access MF, FA, and TSA habitat types.
Use transect as guideline for picking sample locations, but do not work directly along the transect line.
Choose general sampling location and toss syringe to “haphazardly” pick exact spot.
To collect sample: slowly push down syringe while pulling up on the plunger (try not to compress the sample). Try to get as far down as possible and then slowly pull the tube out of the substrate. Pull the plunger out and stick it into the opposite end of the syringe. Using ruler to measure, push out 2 cm of sample into the appropriately labeled centrifuge tube. (Be careful to measure two centimeters as carefully as possible each time. Calculations of chlorophyll after analysis assume equal volumes of sediment in each sample.)
MF: Take sample in exposed mud flats along creek channel during low tide. Avoid inserting syringe into an area with root masses and fibers, it is generally very easy to sample in the mud flats.
FA: Take sample along creek wall below TSA roots layer.
TSA: Same as mudflats.
SP & SSA: Sampling is more difficult, because of the dense roots. Cut around cylinder with knife as you are inserting syringe into ground. Once syringe is inserted far enough cut a cone shape underneath syringe with knife and pull out syringe at an angle in order not to lose the sample.
Collection takes about a half day per creek with two people.
Once samples are collected, wipe off as much mud on the outside of the tubes and store in labeled plastics bags. Samples must remain frozen until analysis.
*adapted from S. Kelsey 2001 protocol
updated 12/20/07 CGK
Step 1: Extraction (typically done in the pm the day before analysis on spec)
50-ml polypropylene centrifuge tubes containing sample (frozen and in the dark)
100% acetone
90% acetone
Coolers with ice
Latex (non-nitrile) gloves
Chlorophyll degrades easily. As much as possible, keep samples cool and dark.
Work in a hood to minimize your exposure to acetone fumes and cap samples tightly
when not in use. Acetone eats many plastics so be mindful of the materials you are using
to store and transfer samples. Acetone will also wash away sharpie- so keep track of
sample numbers and protect your labels. Avoid using acid-washed equipment to
minimize potential acid-contamination of samples. Length of extraction should be
around 16 hours, so plan to time your sample prep and analysis accordingly. Prep only
the amount of samples you can feasibly analyze in one sitting. Usually no more than 40-
50 samples at a time.
Prep samples with acetone:
1. Allow samples to thaw at room temperature for about two hours before putting in
coolers. Samples should be thawed, but cool to the touch.
2. Clean any excess mud off of sample containers and transfer thawed samples to
coolers with ice
3. Store acetone solution in coolers on ice
4. Under hood, use a re-pippeter to add 25mls of 100% acetone to each tube
5. Shake each sample briefly by hand to break up sediment at the bottom of each
6. Place tubes back on ice in cooler
1. Sonicator is in general-use equipment room of Lillie building (2nd floor). Contact
Herb Luther (x7722) or Louie Kerr (x7273) for questions regarding the setup of
the sonicator. Sonicator may be in TIDE lab in the 1st floor of ESL.
2. Bring cooler with samples, kimwipes, gloves, stopwatch, and plastic beaker
3. Wear ear protection when using the sonicator and place a sign on the door to
notify others of its use.
4. Place sample tube in plastic beaker with ice, un-cap and sonicate at setting 7
(microtip max) for 30 seconds, looking for signs of boilage. Avoid touching the
probe to the sides of the sample tube or removing the probe from the liquid while

Reference creeks are West and Nelson
Nutrient Enriched creeks are Sweeney and Clubhead. Sweeney has been fertilized every summer from 2004-2011. Clubhead had been fertilized in 2005 and then from 2009-2011.

All creeks have two branches determined by direction at confluence while facing upstream (Left or Right).

Plant transects run perpendicular to creeks at various points with a front pole at the creek bank and a back pole an the high marsh. Transects are in the order of 1, 2, 4, 3 or blue, green, red, yellow from confluence of branch.

MF= Mud Flat
TSA= Tall Spartina alterniflora
SP= Spartina patens
SSA=Short Spartina alterniflora
FA= Filamentous algae

Data Table

Variable Name Variable Description Units Measurement Scale Code Information Number Type DateTime Format Missing Value Code Missing Value Code Explanation
Year Year Sampled   datetime     YYYY NA NA = not available
Creek Creek Sampled   nominal SW=Sweeney- Nutrient Enriched |NE=Nelson- Nutrient Enriched| WE=West- Reference| CL=Clubhead- Reference     NA NA = not available
Month Month of Sampling   nominal       NA NA = not available
Branch Branch Sampled   nominal L=Left Branch| R=Right Branch| C= Confluence     NA NA = not available
Transect Transect Sampled or Area Sampled   nominal 1=Transect 1 |2= Transect 2|3= Transect 3|4= Transect 4|0= Confluence| 25= 25 m mark|50= 50 m mark|75=75 m mark|100=100 m mark|125=125 m mark| 150= 150 m mark |175=175 m mark|250=250 m mark|350= 350 m mark|450= 450 m mark     NA NA = not available
Replicate Replicate of Sample   nominal       NA NA = not available
Habitat Habitat Sampled   nominal MF= Mud Flat|TSA= Tall Spartina alterniflora|SP= Spartina patens|SSA=Short Spartina alterniflora|FA= Filamentous algae     NA NA = not available
Chla areal Areal concentration of benthic chlorophyll a milligramPerMeterSquared ratio   real   NA NA = not available
Phaeo areal Areal concentraion of phaeophytin milligramPerMeterSquared ratio   real   NA NA = not available