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-MP-LAC-elevationmeans.07
Dataset Title:Marsh surface elevation data from control plots in a Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marsh at Law's Point, Rowley River, Plum Island Ecosystem (PIE) LTER, MA.
Investigator 1: 
First Name:Jim
Last Name:Morris
Address line 1:Dept of Biological Sciences
Address line 2:
Address line 3:University of SC
Zip Code:29208
Investigator 2: 
First Name:Karen
Last Name:Sundberg
Address line 1:Baruch Marine Field Laboratory
Address line 3:PO Box 1630
Zip Code:29442
Associate Investigators:Rob Daoust
Keywords:LTER, PIE, Plum Island Ecosystems, Massachusetts, Rowley River, disturbance, organic matter, estuary, salt marsh, Spartina alterniflora, elevation, surface elevation table (SET), sedimentation erosion table (SET), Northeast United States
Abstract:A Surface Elevation Table (SET) is used to measure changes in the elevation of the marsh platform at a Spartina alterniflora-dominated marsh on the Rowley River in the Plum Island Ecosystem (PIE) LTER site, MA.
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-MP-LAC-elevationmeans
Beginning Date 6/1/1999
End Date 10/31/2015
Number of Data Records 85
Other Files to Reference LTE-MP-LPC-elevationmeans; LTE-MP-NAC-elevationmeans
Availability Status type 1
Quality Control Information
Maintenance Description Collections occur approximately every month from May through October. Database is updated once annually, usually in the winter. Study and data collection are ongoing as of Dec 2015.
Log of Changes: Version 01; new data and metadata
Version 02; new data and metadata
Version 03: February 2, 2012, updated data and metadata to Oct 2011. Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007.xlsm 2/1/12 5:00 PM for QA/QC to EML 2.1.0
Version 04: August 8, 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
Version 05: April 23, 2014, 2013 data and metadata updated to comply with importation to Drupal and LTER PASTA.Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007_Sep2013.xlsm 9/30/13 02:57 PM for QA/QC to EML 2.1.0
Version 06: February 18, 2015, data and metadata updates to comply with importation to Drupal and LTER PASTA. Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007_Jan2015.xlsm 1/15/15 4:26 PM for QA/QC to EML 2.1.0
Version 07: February 24, 2016, data and metadata updates to comply with importation to Drupal and LTER PASTA. Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007_Jan2015.xlsm 1/15/15 4:26 PM for QA/QC to EML 2.1.0
Geographic Description Law's Point on Rowley River, Rowley, MA, site of Spartina alterniflora plot level fertilization.  
Location Bounding Box    
West Bounding Coordinate    
East Bounding Coordinate    
North Bounding Coordinate    
South Bounding Coordinate    
OR if single point location    
Latitude 42.731742  
Longitude -70.842472  
Taxonomic Protocols
Organisms studied Spartina alterniflora
This data set is part of an on-going LTER project at the Plum Island Ecosystem (PIE) site. The sampling location is in a Spartina alterniflora-dominated marsh at Law's Point between the Rowley River and West Creek in Rowley MA.

Sampling Description:
Triplicate original-style SET stations were installed in the marsh in June 1999. Each SET consists of a permanently installed benchmark post and a removable arm. The arm has a vertical and a horizontal component. The vertical component fits into the SET benchmark post; the horizontal component reaches out over an experimental subplot and has a square plate at the end through which 9 pins are lowered. Each SET post is associated with two adjacent plots (one control, one NP fertilized; only the control data are included here). Each plot has three subplots. Therefore, each SET benchmark post is positioned such that 27 elevation readings can be taken in each plot (9 readings in 3 subplots). Plots are numbered. Subplots are identified as L, C, or R for left, center and right, when facing the plot (back to the SET post). To measure elevations, the SET arm is locked in place over each subplot, is leveled, and the 9 brass pins are lowered to touch the sediment surface and held in place with a clip. Pin heights are measured from the top of the nut on the plate to the top of the pin, and read into a digital recorder. The recordings are transcribed into one master SET pin height data set. Change in marsh elevation is determined by subtracting pin height at time X from the mean pin height for the subplot at time 0. SET readings occur approximately monthly, from May-October.

The horizontal portion of the removable part of the PIE LTER SET can be correctly installed and leveled in several positions: the arm can be extended all the way forward, all the way back, and anywhere in between. All SET measurements are made with the arm all the way back, i.e. with the plate being as close to the SET post as possible and the SET arm being as short as possible.

The SET was manufactured by Nolanís Machine Shop in Lafayette LA; 337-235-5261. Replacement pins or collars can be purchased from Nolanís. Stainless steel parts (roll pins etc) come from McMaster-Carr. Measuring pins are held in place with badge clips, available at office supply stores.

Data Processing:
Data are transcribed from a digital recorder to an Excel spreadsheet. Change in marsh elevation is determined by subtracting pin height at time X from the mean pin height for the subplot at time 0. SAS programs are used to determine treatment means and standard error for each month. (SAS System for Windows; release 9.1; SAS Institute, Inc; Cary, NC)

LTE-MP-LPA, ~ 1.1 meters NAVD88

Data Table

Variable Name Variable Description Units Measurement Scale Code Information Number Type DateTime Format Missing Value Code Missing Value Code Explanation
site name of sampling station   nominal          
year year   datetime     yyyy    
month month   datetime     mm    
day day   datetime     dd    
elev change mean change in elevation centimeter interval   real   . .=not measured
stderr standard error of the mean centimeter interval   real   . .=not measured