Dynamics of Suspended Particulate Matter in the lower Tamar estuary

Emlyn Davies


This project uses a combination of different measuring techniques to investigate the distribution and size of Suspended Particulate Matter within the lower reaches of the Tamar Estuary and Plymouth Sound. Data of particle concentrations and sizes, along an ebb and flood transect of the lower Tamar estuary, are presented and analysed. Expected trends of a reduction in particle concentration towards the mouth (from 7mg.L-1 to 5mg.L-1) were detected. A decrease in particle size from 170μm furthest upstream, to 140μm near the mouth, was also observed. Significant relationships between particle size and organic concentration were found, with correlation coefficients of r = +0.5 during ebb conditions and r = +0.7 during flood conditions. Analysis of data obtained from digital holography highlighted the complex structure of flocculated particles, as well as allowing for the identification of anomalies found in LISST data. It is suggested that better shape parameterisation is required when determining particle size using LISST instruments.

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ISSN 1754-2383 [Online] ©University of Plymouth