Aquatic Sensor Measurements

NEON collects data at 34 aquatic sites featuring 24 streams, 3 rivers and 7 lakes. NEON uses sensor-based measurements at aquatic sites to characterize aquatic systems and conditions, such as hydrologic processes, surface water quality, and groundwater quality, as well as local atmospheric conditions. These measurements complement aquatic observations that characterize channel and lake morphology, organism abundance and diversity, seasonal climatic and hydrologic changes, and riparian phenology.

Measurement methods

Aquatic sites are strategically located to represent ecological variability across the continent, including various geomorphologic and hydrologic regimes and land use types, to provide data that detect ecological change and improve ecosystem-level understanding. At each aquatic site, suites of aquatic sensors are configured and installed using standardized methods in streams, lakes and rivers in a variety of ecosystems. These automated sensors continuously collect aquatic data ranging from water quality measurements to localized atmospheric measurements collected near to the aquatic feature.

Integrated sampling design

Combined with aquatic observational data and other NEON ecological data, aquatic sensor data provide an unprecedented opportunity to study ecosystem-level change over time. Where logistically possible, NEON colocates aquatic sites with terrestrial sites to support understanding of linkages across atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Key aquatic sensor measurements

NEON collects more than 200 types of data at each aquatic site, including automated physical, chemical and biological sensor measurements in the following aquatic areas:

Streams (2 Sensor sets with the following sensors):

  • Stream stage and continuous discharge (In-situ LevelTroll 500)
  • Surface water quality (water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductivity, turbidity, fluorescence dissolved organic matter, chlorophyll a and nitrates) (YSI/XYLEM EX 02)
  • Photosynthetically Active Radiation (Kipp Zonen PQS1)
  • Groundwater wells: Groundwater elevation, temperature, specific conductance (In-situ AquaTroll 200)

Rivers (Buoy mounted sensor set)

  • Surface water quality (water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductivity, turbidity, fluorescence dissolved organic matter, chlorophyll a and nitrates) (YSI/XYLEM EX 02)
  • Groundwater elevation, temperature, specific conductance (In-situ AquaTroll 200)

Lakes (Buoy + inlet and outlet sensor sets)

  • Profiled surface water quality at the buoy (water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductivity, turbidity, fluorescence dissolved organic matter, chlorophyll a and nitrates) (YSI/XYLEM EX 02)
  • Underwater down- and upwelling photosynthetically active radiation at the buoy (Hukseflux NR01)
  • Lake stage at lake inlet and outlet locations (In-situ LevelTroll 500)
  • Underwater downwelling photosynthetically active radiation at lake inlet and outlet locations (Li-Cor LI1925A)
  • Groundwater elevation, temperature and specific conductance (In-situ AquaTroll 200)

Meteorological sensors (Each site)

  • Photosynthetically active radiation (Kipp Zonen PQS1)
  • Long and shortwave net radiation (Hukseflux NR01)
  • Air temperature (Thermometrics PRT)
  • Barometric pressure (Vaisala PTB 330)
  • Wind speed and direction (NovaLynx Corp WindObserver II)
  • Precipitation (Double fence intercomparison reference where possible and tipping bucket elsewhere)

High-level data products derived from aquatic sensor measurements

  • Stream metabolism
  • Lake metabolism

Aquatic sensor list

NEON and NSF selected and approved the list of sensors below, which are currently either being negotiated or under contract. This list does not constitute NEON endorsement of any manufacturer.

Surface water sensor

Manufacturer

Make and Model

Surface water quality (dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, fluorescent dissolved organic matter, turbidity and chlorophyll)

YSI/XYLEM

EXO2

Surface water elevation and continuous stream discharge

In-Situ

LevelTroll 500

Water temperature

Thermometrics

PRT

Surface water nitrate

Satlantic

SUNA V2

Underwater photosynthetically active radiation

Li-COR

LI192SA

Groundwater well sensor

Manufacturer

Make and Model

Groundwater elevation, temperature and conductivity

In-situ

AquaTroll 200

Meteorological sensor

Manufacturer

Make and Model

Photosynthetically active radiation

Kipp Zonen

PQS1

Wind speed and 2-dimensional direction

NovaLynx Corp

WindObserver II

Barometric pressure

Vaisala

PTB330

Long-wave / short-wave radiation

Hukseflux

NR01

Air temperature, single point aspirated shield

Thermometrics

PRT

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