Home  •   Message Boards  •   Learning Resources  •   Members Only   •   FAQ  •  Profile  •  Log in to check your private messages  •  Log in
Barrow, AlaskaCaribou Poker CreekLena River, SiberiaSvalbard, Norway Prince Patrick Island, Canada
Summit, Greenland
Toolik Lake | Models for the Arctic TundraPlant DiversityPollutantsSBI Project: Healy Icebreaker
 Water Sampling Instructions View next topic
View previous topic
Post new topicReply to topic
Author Message

Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 6:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Water Sampling

We have been taking water samples everyday from the shores of the Lena River to learn more about the water and how its chemistry changes during the ice breakup period when river discharge increases from low winter levels to the highest discharge of the year.


The chemistry of the water will give scientists information about where the water came from (precipitation or groundwater) and also about biogeochemical processes occurring in the Lena River watershed (a watershed is the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains into specific streams, rivers, or lakes). The physical characteristics of a watershed – including its slope, geology, and vegetation will affect the patterns, amount, and chemistry of the water that flows through the system. By carefully analyzing the samples that we take from the Lena River, scientists will find out all sorts of things about the Lena River watershed and they will be able to trace the Lena River water after it enters the Arctic Ocean. And by doing a few tests of your own, you too can learn more about the water in your watershed.

Nitrate and Phosphate - Plants need nitrogen and phosphorus to grow, and they often get if from nitrate (a molecule made up of nitrogen and oxygen) and phosphate (a molecule made up of phosphorus and oxygen). Humans also use nitrate and phosphate to fertilize their crops, gardens, and lawns, and produce them as waste products. If too much pf these nutrients gets into riverss or lake or the ocean, they can cause big problems. They can basically cause the ecosystem to get out of balance due to increased plant growth. Then when the plants die, it takes oxygen to break them down which can cause the oxygen levels in the water to get very low. When this happens, fish and other aquatic organisms can die.

Dissolved Oxygen-Organisms that live in the water need oxygen to live—but how do they get it underwater? They get it from oxygen that is dissolved in the water. Some freshwater organisms need high levels of dissolved oxygen, while others can handle a wide range of dissolved oxygen levels. The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water depends on things such as temperature, wind and current speed, as well as on the amount of photosynthesis (which produces oxygen) and respiration (which consumes oxygen) that has occurred in the water.

Air and Water Temperature - Water temperature affects many aspects of aquatic ecosystems, including the rates of photosynthesis and respiration, how fast many aquatic plants and animals grow, and the ability of oxygen to stay dissolved in water (cold water can hold more oxygen that warmer water). Air temperature is important because it directly impacts the temperature of the water.

pH - This will measure whether the water is acidic, basic, or neutral. Different organisms have adapted to life in water with specific pH, so if the pH changes, they might not survive. Changes in the pH of lakes and rivers are often a result of human activities.

Current Speed - You can measure the current speed by placing a meter stick or string next to the river and then use something that floats to see how far the thing floats in one second. Fast-flowing water tends to be cool and well oxygenated, and thus better able to support more kinds of life.

*** Some of these activities were modified from the Jason XIII Curriculum
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mailAIM Address

Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Here is a blank Data Sheet for Water Sampling:

Water Data Sheet

1. Date of Test:

2. Time of Test:

3. Name of aquatic site or description of where it is located:

4. Latitude_______ Longitude___________

5. Type of water: _____lake _____river _____other (explain)

­­­6. Color of the water:












7. Classify your site:




_____nature preserve

_____other (explain)

8. What is within 10 meters of the water’s edge?





_____other vegetation

_____other (explain)

9. What land uses do you see around the study area?




_____discharge pipes



_____recreation area





How would any of the land uses that you checked above impact the watershed?

10. What kinds of plants/trees do you see around the site? Describe them.

11. Weather Observations:

Air Temperature:_____

Water Temperature:_____

Sky Conditions (circle): clear partly cloudy cloudy

Description, type, or drawing of any clouds present:

Current Precipitation: ____none type_________________________

Precipitation within the past 24 hours: _____none type____________________

Wind speed (circle): calm, gentle breeze, moderate breeze, strong breeze, gale, storm, hurricane.

12. pH circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

13. Current Speed:_____cm/sec

14. Dissolved Oxygen-O_2 (use tablets)

15. Phosphate (use tablets)

16. Nitrate (use tablets)
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mailAIM Address
Display posts from previous:      
Post new topicReply to topic

 Jump to:   

View next topic
View previous topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

Powered by phpBB 2.0.11 © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group :: FI Theme :: All times are GMT
Toolik Field Station Lena River, Siberia Svalbard, Norway Summit, Greenland Prince Patrick Island, Canada Healy Icebreaker Caribou Poker Creek Barrow, Alaska