MAREX conducts routine nutrient monitoring for Sapelo Island as part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP).
The University of Georgia Marine Extension Service performs monthly testing at four sites in the Duplin River estuary, as well as sites along Sapelo Island's Cabretta Creek and Dean Creek. Bottom water samples are collected for laboratory analysis of nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, orthophosphate, and ammonia) and chlorophyll-a. Enterococci bacteria are quantified using a 24-hour membrane filtration laboratory method for the Duplin River locations.
An automatic sampling device is deployed at the Marsh Landing dock one day prior to field sampling and is set to collect a water sample every two hours over a 24-hour tidal cycle. The resulting samples are analyzed in the laboratory for the nutrients listed above and cholophyll-a.
Monitoring data for each reserve is available from the reserve system's Centralized Data Management Office.