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Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 1126806

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category Water sample data
Instrument Type
Niskin bottle  discrete water samplers
SPX Bran+Luebbe colorimetric Autoanalyser 3  colorimeters; autoanalysers
World Precision Instruments Liquid Waveguide Capillary Cell  spectrophotometers
Instrument Mounting research vessel
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator Mr Malcolm Woodward
Originating Organization Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Processing Status banked
Online delivery of data Download available - Ocean Data View (ODV) format
Project(s) Atlantic Meridional Transect Phase2(AMT)

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier AMT15_CTD_CTD002s_Woodward_nuts
BODC Series Reference 1126806

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 2004-09-19 02:49
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) -
Nominal Cycle Interval -

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 48.74965 N ( 48° 45.0' N )
Longitude 7.85797 W ( 7° 51.5' W )
Positional Uncertainty 0.0 to 0.01 n.miles
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Depth 5.9 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Depth 142.1 m
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Height -
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Height -
Sea Floor Depth -
Sea Floor Depth Source -
Sensor or Sampling Distribution Variable common depth - All sensors are grouped effectively at the same depth, but this depth varies significantly during the series
Sensor or Sampling Depth Datum Instantaneous - Depth measured below water line or instantaneous water body surface
Sea Floor Depth Datum -


BODC CODERankUnitsTitle
ADEPZZ011MetresDepth (spatial coordinate) relative to water surface in the water body
BOTTFLAG1Not applicableSampling process quality flag (BODC C22)
FIRSEQID1DimensionlessBottle firing sequence number
NTRIAATX1Micromoles per litreConcentration of nitrite {NO2- CAS 14797-65-0} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis
NTRZAATX1Micromoles per litreConcentration of nitrate+nitrite {NO3+NO2} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis
PHOSAATX1Micromoles per litreConcentration of phosphate {PO43- CAS 14265-44-2} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis
ROSPOSID1DimensionlessBottle rosette position identifier
SAMPRFNM1DimensionlessSample reference number
SLCAAATX1Micromoles per litreConcentration of silicate {SiO44- CAS 17181-37-2} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis

Definition of BOTTFLAG

0The sampling event occurred without any incident being reported to BODC.
1The filter in an in-situ sampling pump physically ruptured during sample resulting in an unquantifiable loss of sampled material.
2Analytical evidence (e.g. surface water salinity measured on a sample collected at depth) indicates that the water sample has been contaminated by water from depths other than the depths of sampling.
3The feedback indicator on the deck unit reported that the bottle closure command had failed. General Oceanics deck units used on NERC vessels in the 80s and 90s were renowned for reporting misfires when the bottle had been closed. This flag is also suitable for when a trigger command is mistakenly sent to a bottle that has previously been fired.
4During the sampling deployment the bottle was fired in an order other than incrementing rosette position. Indicative of the potential for errors in the assignment of bottle firing depth, especially with General Oceanics rosettes.
5Water was reported to be escaping from the bottle as the rosette was being recovered.
6The bottle seals were observed to be incorrectly seated and the bottle was only part full of water on recovery.
7Either the bottle was found to contain no sample on recovery or there was no bottle fitted to the rosette position fired (but SBE35 record may exist).
8There is reason to doubt the accuracy of the sampling depth associated with the sample.
9The bottle air vent had not been closed prior to deployment giving rise to a risk of sample contamination through leakage.

Definition of Rank

  • Rank 1 is a one-dimensional parameter
  • Rank 2 is a two-dimensional parameter
  • Rank 0 is a one-dimensional parameter describing the second dimension of a two-dimensional parameter (e.g. bin depths for moored ADCP data)

Problem Reports

No Problem Report Found in the Database

Data Quality Report - see processing documentation

Data quality information is included in the general documentation for this series. Please read.

Data Access Policy

Open Data supplied by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

You must always use the following attribution statement to acknowledge the source of the information: "Contains data supplied by Natural Environment Research Council."

Narrative Documents

SPX Bran+Luebbe Autoanalyser 3

The instrument uses continuous flow analysis (CFA) with a continuous stream of material divided by air bubbles into discrete segments in which chemical reactions occur. The continuous stream of liquid samples and reagents are combined and transported in tubing and mixing coils. The tubing passes the samples from one apparatus to the other with each apparatus performing different functions, such as distillation, dialysis, extraction, ion exchange, heating, incubation, and subsequent recording of a signal.

An essential principle of the system is the introduction of air bubbles. The air bubbles segment each sample into discrete packets and act as a barrier between packets to prevent cross contamination as they travel down the length of the tubing. The air bubbles also assist mixing by creating turbulent flow (bolus flow), and provide operators with a quick and easy check of the flow characteristics of the liquid.

Samples and standards are treated in an exactly identical manner as they travel the length of the tubing, eliminating the necessity of a steady state signal, however, since the presence of bubbles create an almost square wave profile, bringing the system to steady state does not significantly decrease throughput and is desirable in that steady state signals (chemical equilibrium) are more accurate and reproducible.

The autoanalyzer can consist of different modules including a sampler, pump, mixing coils, optional sample treatments (dialysis, distillation, heating, etc), a detector, and data generator. Most continuous flow analyzers depend on color reactions using a flow through colorimeter, however other methods have been developed that use ISE, flame photometry, ICAP, fluorometry, and so forth.

More details can be found in the manufacturer's introduction to autoanalysers andinstrument description.

World Precision Instruments Liquid Waveguide Capillary Cell

Liquid Waveguide Capillary Cell (LWCC) is a flow cell for absorbance measurements in the ultraviolet, visible and near infra-red ranges. Pathlengths range from 50-500cm, with increasing measurement sensitivity from 50 to 500-fold. The flow cells are fiber coupled and have a very small sample volume ranging from 125µL (50cm pathlength) to 1,250µL (500cm pathlength).

The sample solution is introduced into the LWCC at the liquid input. Light is coupled into the LWCC from a light source via a fiber optic cable. After passing through the LWCC, light is collected with an optical fiber and guided to a detector. The concentration of the sample is determined by measuring its absorbance in the LWCC, similar to a standard UV/VIS spectrometer.


Model LWCC-3050 LWCC-3100 LWCC-3250 LWCC-3500
Optical Pathlength 50cm 100cm 250cm 500cm
Internal Volume 125µL 250µL 625µL 1250µL
Fiber Connection 500um SMA
Transmission @254nm* 20 10 5 -
Transmission @540nm* 35 30 25 20
Noise [mAU]** <0.1 <0.2 <0.5 <1.0

Maximum Pressure 100 PSI

Wetted Material PEEK, Fused Silica, PTFE

Liquid Input Standard 10-32 Coned Port Fitting

* Referenced using coupled 500µm fibers

** Measured using ASTM E685-93

*** A one-meter waveguide of 550µm internal diameter requires approximately 1.5 psi for water flow of 1.0 mL/min.

Further details can be found in the manufacturer's specification sheet.

Niskin Bottle

The Niskin bottle is a device used by oceanographers to collect subsurface seawater samples. It is a plastic bottle with caps and rubber seals at each end and is deployed with the caps held open, allowing free-flushing of the bottle as it moves through the water column.

Standard Niskin

The standard version of the bottle includes a plastic-coated metal spring or elastic cord running through the interior of the bottle that joins the two caps, and the caps are held open against the spring by plastic lanyards. When the bottle reaches the desired depth the lanyards are released by a pressure-actuated switch, command signal or messenger weight and the caps are forced shut and sealed, trapping the seawater sample.

Lever Action Niskin

The Lever Action Niskin Bottle differs from the standard version, in that the caps are held open during deployment by externally mounted stainless steel springs rather than an internal spring or cord. Lever Action Niskins are recommended for applications where a completely clear sample chamber is critical or for use in deep cold water.

Clean Sampling

A modified version of the standard Niskin bottle has been developed for clean sampling. This is teflon-coated and uses a latex cord to close the caps rather than a metal spring. The clean version of the Levered Action Niskin bottle is also teflon-coated and uses epoxy covered springs in place of the stainless steel springs. These bottles are specifically designed to minimise metal contamination when sampling trace metals.


Bottles may be deployed singly clamped to a wire or in groups of up to 48 on a rosette. Standard bottles have a capacity between 1.7 and 30 L, while Lever Action bottles have a capacity between 1.7 and 12 L. Reversing thermometers may be attached to a spring-loaded disk that rotates through 180° on bottle closure.

AMT15 Nutrient (micro- and nano-molar) measurements from CTD bottle and underway surface samples

Originator's Protocol for Data Acquisition and Analysis

Water samples were taken from the Sea-Bird CTD rosette system. The micro-molar samples were collected into acid-clean 60 ml HDPE (nalgene) sample bottles and the nano-molar samples into 120 ml HDPE (nalgene) sample bottles. Analysis for nutrients was completed within 2 hours for mirco-molar and 3 hours for nano-molar measurements in all cases. Clean handling techniques were employed to avoid contamination of the samples. Nano-molar measurements were also made from samples collected underway each day at 15:00 from the ship's non-toxic supply where concentrations were lower than the detectible level from micro-molar analysis on sea-water.

The main nutrient analyser was a 5-channel Bran and Luebbe AAIII segmented flow autoanalyser. The analytical chemical methodologies used were according to Brewer and Riley (1965) for nitrate, Grasshoff (1976) for nitrite, Kirkwood (1989) for phosphate and silicate, and Mantoura and Woodward (1983) for ammonium.

Nanomolar ammonium concentrations were obtained using an adapted method from Jones (1991); this uses a fluorescent analysis technique following ammonia gas diffusion out of the samples, passing across a hydrophobic Teflon membrane due to differential pH chemistry.

Nanomolar nitrate+nitrite, nitrate and phosphate concentrations were obtained on some samples using a 3-channel nanomolar analyser. This method combines sensitive segmented flow colorimetric analytical techniques with a Liquid Waveguide Capillary Cell (LWCC). The nitrate and nitrate systems worked throughout the cruise but due to time constraints the phosphate system was only used in the Southern Gyre region and beyond.

References Cited

Brewer P.G. and Riley J.P., 1965. The automatic determination of nitrate in sea water. Deep-Sea Research, 12, 765-772.

Grasshoff K., 1976. Methods of seawater analysis. Verlag Chemie, Weiheim: 317 pp.

Jones R.D., 1991. An improved fluorescence method for the determination of nanomolar concentrations of ammonium in natural waters. Limnology and Oceanography, 36, 814-819.

Kirkwood D.S., 1989. Simultaneous determination of selected nutrients in seawater. ICES CM1989/C:29, 12pp.

Mantoura R.F.C. and Woodward E.M.S., 1983. Optimisation of the indophenol blue method for the automated determination of ammonia in estuarine waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 17, 219-224.

BODC Data Processing Procedures

The micro and nano-molar nutrient data were submitted to BODC in two separate Microsoft Excel files. There was no micro- or nanomolar ammonium data in the files provided to BODC.

Station and sample metadata were checked against information held in the BODC database and obtained from the SeaBird CTD log files, scientific logs and reports. There were some discrepancies. For one cast (cast 105) this was due to an obvious mislabelling of the cast number in the originator's file. Other significant discrepancies in sample depths are listed in a table in the Problem Report section below.

Data from the LWCC systems were submitted in units of nmol l-1. Nano-molar data were divided by 1000 to convert the units to µmol l-1 for storage in the database.Users should be aware that these LWCC measurements are valid to the fourth decimal place. The data were assigned parameter codes defined in BODC parameter dictionary. Data loaded into BODC's database using established BODC data banking procedures.

A parameter mapping table is provided below;

Originator's Parameter Units Description BODC Parameter Code Units Comments
Nitrate+Nitrite (AAIII) µmol l-1 Concentration of nitrate+nitrite {NO3+NO2} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis NTRZAATX µmol l-1 -
Nitrate+Nitrite (LWCC nano-molar system) nmol l-1 Concentration (nM sensitivity) of nitrate+nitrite {NO3+NO2} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis with liquid waveguide capilliary cell NTRZLWTX µmol l-1 nmol l-1 converted to µmol l-1 (conversion used * 1/1000)
Nitrite (AAIII) µmol l-1 Concentration of nitrite {NO2} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis NTRIAATX µmol l-1 -
Nitrite (LWCC nano-molar system) nmol l-1 Concentration (nM sensitivity) of nitrite {NO2} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis with liquid waveguide capilliary cell NTRILWTX µmol l-1 nmol l-1 converted to µmol l-1 (conversion used * 1/1000)
Phosphate (AAIII) µmol l-1 Concentration of phosphate {PO4} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis PHOSAATX µmol l-1 -
Phosphate (LWCC nano-molar system) nmol l-1 Concentration (nM sensitivity) of phosphate {PO4} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis with liquid waveguide capilliary cell PHOSLWTX µmol l-1 nmol l-1 converted to µmol l-1 (conversion used * 1/1000)
Silicate (AAIII) µmol l-1 Concentration of silicate {SiO4} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by colorimetric autoanalysis SLCAAATX µmol l-1 -

Data Quality Report

The dataset has been checked by the data originator - any suspect data values were removed from the data set before submission to BODC.

Measurement precision information from data originators

The detection limits for measurements from the AAIII Bran and Luebbe autoanalyser have are 0.02 µmol l-1, except the colorimetric ammonium which has a detection limit of 0.08 µmol l-1. Samples in the database with a flag of "<" had concentrations below the specified detection limits.

At low concentrations, the values obtained by the LWCC are likely to be more accurate than those from the AAIII analyser.

Problem Report

Because of a few remaining uncertainties in matching sample measurements with SeaBird bottle firing depths, users should exert caution when using data from the following CTD cast and depth (records marked with an asterisk are believed to be due to typographical errors in the source files):

CTD Cast ID Originator Bottle No. Originator Sample Depth BODC Bottle No. BODC Depth BODC Bottle ID Micro or nano-molar dataset
21 3 2300* 3 201.1 513905 Nano
59 19 40 19 20.2 514475 Nano
59 17 50 17 40.3 514473 Nano
59 16 60 16 50 514472 Nano
68 24 2 21 16.5 513214 Nano
4 5 150.0 5 158.7 514934 Micro
4 3 200.0 3 211.6 514932 Micro
4 1 300.0 1 319.3 514930 Micro
18 12 60.0 12 52 513874 Micro
48 6 15.0* 6 125.3 514532 Micro
59 19 40.0 19 20.2 514475 Micro
59 17 50.0 17 40.3 514473 Micro
59 16 60.0 16 50 514472 Micro
59 15 70.0 15 60.2 514471 Micro
59 13 75.0 13 69.8 514469 Micro
59 6 15.0* 6 125.3 514462 Micro
65 20 10.0 20 17.6 513323 Micro
65 16 20.0 16 27.6 513319 Micro
65 12 60.0 12 47.8 513315 Micro
65 7 80.0 7 101.2 513310 Micro
65 6 90.0 6 121.6 513309 Micro
65 4 100.0 4 152.5 513307 Micro
65 3 150.0 3 177.4 513306 Micro

Project Information

The Atlantic Meridional Transect - Phase 2 (2002-2006)

Who was involved in the project?

The Atlantic Meridional Transect Phase 2 was designed by and implemented by a number of UK research centres and universities. The programme was hosted by Plymouth Marine Laboratory in collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. The universities involved were:

  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of Southampton
  • University of East Anglia

What was the project about?

AMT began in 1995, with scientific aims to assess mesoscale to basin scale phytoplankton processes, the functional interpretation of bio-optical signatures and the seasonal, regional and latitudinal variations in mesozooplankton dynamics. In 2002, when the programme restarted, the scientific aims were broadened to address a suite of cross-disciplinary questions concerning ocean plankton ecology and biogeochemistry and the links to atmospheric processes.

The objectives included the determination of:

  • how the structure, functional properties and trophic status of the major planktonic ecosystems vary in space and time
  • how physical processes control the rates of nutrient supply to the planktonic ecosystem
  • how atmosphere-ocean exchange and photo-degradation influence the formation and fate of organic matter

The data were collected with the aim of being distributed for use in the development of models to describe the interactions between the global climate system and ocean biogeochemistry.

When was the project active?

The second phase of funding allowed the project to continue for the period 2002 to 2006 and consisted of six research cruises. The first phase of the AMT programme ran from 1995 to 2000.

Brief summary of the project fieldwork/data

The fieldwork on the first three cruises was carried out along transects from the UK to the Falkland Islands in September and from the Falkland Islands to the UK in April. The last three cruises followed a cruise track between the UK and South Africa, only deviating from the traditional transect in the southern hemisphere. During this phase the research cruises sampled further into the centre of the North and South Atlantic Ocean and also along the north-west coast of Africa where upwelled nutrient rich water is known to provide a significant source of climatically important gases.

Who funded the project?

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Data Activity or Cruise Information

Data Activity

Start Date (yyyy-mm-dd) 2004-09-19
End Date (yyyy-mm-dd) 2004-09-19
Organization Undertaking ActivityPlymouth Marine Laboratory
Country of OrganizationUnited Kingdom
Originator's Data Activity IdentifierAMT15_CTD_CTD002s
Platform Categorylowered unmanned submersible

BODC Sample Metadata Report for AMT15_CTD_CTD002s

Sample reference number Nominal collection volume(l) Bottle rosette position Bottle firing sequence number Minimum pressure sampled (dbar) Maximum pressure sampled (dbar) Depth of sampling point (m) Bottle type Sample quality flag Bottle reference Comments
514070 20.0 1 1   142.70   144.10   142.10 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514071 20.0 2 2   144.60   146.30   144.20 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514072 20.0 3 3   103.50   103.80   102.70 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514073 20.0 4 4   102.30   102.80   101.70 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514074 20.0 5 5     61.70     62.00     61.30 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514075 20.0 6 6     62.70     63.20     62.40 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514076 20.0 7 7     53.20     53.40     52.80 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514077 20.0 8 8     53.20     53.40     52.80 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514078 20.0 9 9     52.90     53.70     52.80 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514079 20.0 10 10     53.20     53.40     52.80 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514080 20.0 11 11     52.30     53.10     52.20 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514081 20.0 12 12     38.10     38.80     38.10 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514082 20.0 13 13     38.30     38.50     38.10 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514083 20.0 14 14     38.40     38.80     38.30 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514084 20.0 15 15     27.30     27.80     27.30 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514085 20.0 16 16     27.80     28.00     27.70 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514086 20.0 17 17     27.10     28.10     27.40 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514087 20.0 18 18     12.70     13.50     13.00 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514088 20.0 19 19     12.50     12.70     12.50 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514089 20.0 20 20     12.20     12.70     12.30 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514090 20.0 21 21       6.10       6.40       6.20 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514091 20.0 22 22       6.90       7.30       7.00 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514092 20.0 23 23       5.60       6.40       5.90 Niskin bottle No problem reported    
514093 20.0 24 24       6.80       7.00       6.80 Niskin bottle No problem reported    

Please note: the supplied parameters may not have been sampled from all the bottle firings described in the table above. Cross-match the Sample Reference Number above against the SAMPRFNM value in the data file to identify the relevant metadata.

Related Data Activity activities are detailed in Appendix 1


Cruise Name D284 (AMT15)
Departure Date 2004-09-17
Arrival Date 2004-10-29
Principal Scientist(s)Andrew Rees (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)
Ship RRS Discovery

Complete Cruise Metadata Report is available here

Fixed Station Information

No Fixed Station Information held for the Series

BODC Quality Control Flags

The following single character qualifying flags may be associated with one or more individual parameters with a data cycle:

Flag Description
Blank Unqualified
< Below detection limit
> In excess of quoted value
A Taxonomic flag for affinis (aff.)
B Beginning of CTD Down/Up Cast
C Taxonomic flag for confer (cf.)
D Thermometric depth
E End of CTD Down/Up Cast
G Non-taxonomic biological characteristic uncertainty
H Extrapolated value
I Taxonomic flag for single species (sp.)
K Improbable value - unknown quality control source
L Improbable value - originator's quality control
M Improbable value - BODC quality control
N Null value
O Improbable value - user quality control
P Trace/calm
Q Indeterminate
R Replacement value
S Estimated value
T Interpolated value
U Uncalibrated
W Control value
X Excessive difference

SeaDataNet Quality Control Flags

The following single character qualifying flags may be associated with one or more individual parameters with a data cycle:

Flag Description
0 no quality control
1 good value
2 probably good value
3 probably bad value
4 bad value
5 changed value
6 value below detection
7 value in excess
8 interpolated value
9 missing value
A value phenomenon uncertain
B nominal value
Q value below limit of quantification

Appendix 1: AMT15_CTD_CTD002s

Related series for this Data Activity are presented in the table below. Further information can be found by following the appropriate links.

If you are interested in these series, please be aware we offer a multiple file download service. Should your credentials be insufficient for automatic download, the service also offers a referral to our Enquiries Officer who may be able to negotiate access.

Series IdentifierData CategoryStart date/timeStart positionCruise
1787740Water sample data2004-09-19 02:49:0048.74965 N, 7.85797 WRRS Discovery D284 (AMT15)
1873536Water sample data2004-09-19 02:49:0048.74965 N, 7.85797 WRRS Discovery D284 (AMT15)
1888098Water sample data2004-09-19 02:49:0048.74965 N, 7.85797 WRRS Discovery D284 (AMT15)