A Decade of Change in the Skidaway River Estuary. I. Hydrography and Nutrients
Verity, Peter G.
MetadataShow full item record
The Skidaway River estuary is a tidally-dominated subtropical estuary in the southeastern USA surrounded by extensive Spartina salt marshes. Weekly sampling at high and low tide began in 1986 for hydrography, nutrients, chlorophyll a, particulate matter, and microbial and plankton biomass and composition; hydrographic and nutrient data during 1986-1996 are reported here. Salinity varied inversely with river discharge and exhibited variability at all time scales but with no long-term trend. NO₃, NH₄, PO₄, Si(OH)₄, and DON exhibited steady increases in minimum, mean, and maximum concentrations; mean concentrations increased ca. 50-150% during the decade. Major spikes in organic and inorganic nutrient concentrations coincided with significant rainfall events; concentration increased hyperbolically with rainfall. Land use is apparently altering nutrient loading over the long term (months-years), and superimposed on this are stochastic meteorological events that accelerate these changes over the short term (days-weeks).