Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Implementation of the Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in 
Elkhorn Slough, California

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Joe Needoba, Ph.D.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Pacific Forum 3:00 p.m.

The Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory (LOBO) is a network of aquatic moorings designed to monitor nutrients and biogeochemical processes in a coastal environment. The sensor network consists of newly developed, in situ chemical sensors and standard oceanographic instrumentation that allow for high-resolution measurements of chemical, physical, and biological water properties of Elkhorn Slough. During implementation of the observatory we have addressed many of the practical challenges of deploying instruments in an estuarine environment. These challenges include: mooring placement strategies, interference from biological growth and suspended sediments, and calibration of instruments for a wide range of conditions. The results from the first year of the program illustrate how the LOBO network greatly facilitates the evaluation of watershed nutrient loading, biochemical transformations, and the flux of nutrients to and from the ocean. This knowledge can be used to enhance our understanding of the ecosystem, and make sound environmental management decisions.

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