Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



In this report we present results from a sampling program designed to characterize the abundance, sources, and composition of particulate organic matter (POM) in the lower Chesapeake Bay. To meet these objectives, we used measurements of bulk parameters (total suspended solids, chlorophylls, particulate carbon and nitrogen concentrations) combined with information on the concentration of two classes of lipid biomarker compounds (fatty acids and sterols). In addition to providing baseline information on the sources and composition of POM important to the lower Bay, the study addressed spatial and temporal variations in organic matter quality. This was accomplished using an experimental design which incorporated seasonal samplings to investigate temporal variability. Spatial variability was examined by comparison of sites located at the mouths of two tributaries (York and Rappahannock Rivers) to two sites located in the Bay mainstem. A further goal of the research project was to improve our understanding of the role of biological and physical processes in controlling the distribution and quality of organic matter. This information can then be used to understand how POM composition changes spatially and temporally in this region of the CB and to provide important insights regarding the nutritional value of the POM to consumer organisms.


A final data report submitted to the Virginia Water Resources Research Center


Lipids -- Analysis, Chemical oceanography -- Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.), Organic geochemistry -- Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.)