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Open-File Report 2011–1113

Summary of Oceanographic and Water-Quality Measurements in West Falmouth Harbor and Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, 2009-2010

By Neil K. Ganju, Patrick J. Dickhudt, Jennifer A. Thomas, Jonathan Borden, Christopher R. Sherwood, Ellyn T. Montgomery, Erin R. Twomey, and Marinna A. Martini

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This data report presents oceanographic and water-quality observations made at six locations in West Falmouth Harbor and Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, from August 2009 to September 2010. Both Buzzards Bay and West Falmouth Harbor are estuarine embayments; the input of freshwater on the eastern margin of Buzzards Bay adjacent to Cape Cod and West Falmouth Harbor is largely due to groundwater. In West Falmouth Harbor, the groundwater that seeps into the harbor is characterized by relatively high levels of nitrate. This high nitrate load has modified the ecology of the harbor (Howes and others, 2006) and may be a significant source of nitrate to Buzzards Bay during seasons with low biological nitrate uptake. The U.S. Geological Survey undertook these measurements to improve understanding of circulation, residence time, and water quality in the harbor and bay. We set up and monitored multiple sites in both Buzzards Bay and West Falmouth Harbor, measuring depth, water velocity,salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll-a, and nitrate concentration. In this report we present the processed time-series data at these locations and provide access to the data and metadata. The results will be used to understand circulation mechanisms and verify numerical models of hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry.

Posted October 19, 2011

For additional information contact:
Neil K. Ganju
U.S. Geological Survey
Northeast Area
384 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Ganju, N.K., Dickhudt, P.J., Thomas, J.A., Borden, J., Sherwood, C.R., Montgomery, E.T., Twomey, E.R., and Martini, M.A., 2011, Summary of Oceanographic and Water–Quality Measurements in West Falmouth Harbor and Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, 2009–2010: Open-File Report 2011-1113. (Also available at

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