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Data and R scripts for: Nutrient export and elemental stoichiometry in an urban tropical river

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Created: Oct 11, 2018 at 8:50 p.m.
Last updated: Dec 27, 2018 at 6:16 p.m.
DOI: 10.4211/hs.142c59757ed54de1816777828c9716e7
Citation: See how to cite this resource
Sharing Status: Published
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R scripts presented as Jupyter Notebooks and data to generate load and concentration estimates produced for the journal publication:
McDowell, W. H., McDowell, W. G., Potter, J. D. and Ramírez, A. (2018), Nutrient export and elemental stoichiometry in an urban tropical river. Ecol Appl. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/eap.1839

Find the publication here:

We recommend running the JupyterNotebooks on a local JupyterHub instead of the online CUAHSI JupterHub. You will need to run install.R in order to load the needed R packages for the R script.

A prerender version of the Quebrada Sonadora Jupyter Notebook is available here

An interactive version of the Jupyter Notebooks maybe available on mybinder, mybinder is in beta and has been functioning inconsistently

The script 'Sonadora (QS) flux and concentrations 2009-2014.ipynb' in the contents below contains nicely formatted tables that match the tables in the publication. We suggest running this script first if you are interested in how the results were generated. The other two scripts 'Mameyes- Puente Roto (MPR) flux and concentrations 2009-2014.ipynb' and 'Rio Piedras flux and concentrations 2009-2014.ipynb' are raw scripts without formatted output.

The journal publication abstract is presented here:

Nutrient inputs to surface waters are particularly varied in urban areas, due to multiple nutrient sources and complex hydrologic pathways. Because of their close proximity to coastal waters, nutrient delivery from many urban areas can have profound impacts on coastal ecology. Relatively little is known about the temporal and spatial variability in stoichiometry of inorganic nutrients such as dissolved silica, nitrogen, and phosphorus (Si, N, and P) and dissolved organic matter in tropical urban environments. We examined nutrient stoichiometry of both inorganic nutrients and organic matter in an urban watershed in Puerto Rico served by municipal sanitary sewers and compared it to two nearby forested catchments using samples collected weekly from each river for 6 years. Urbanization caused large increases in the concentration and flux of nitrogen and phosphorus (2- to 50-fold), but surprisingly little change in N:P ratio. Concentrations of almost all major ions and dissolved silica were also significantly higher in the urban river than the wildland rivers. Yield of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) was not increased dramatically by urbanization, but the composition of dissolved organic matter shifted toward N-rich material, with a larger increase in dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) than DOC. The molar ratio of DOC:DON was about 40 in rivers draining forested catchments but was only 10 in the urban river. Inclusion of Si in the assessment of urbanization’s impacts reveals a large shift in the stoichiometry (Si:N and Si:P) of nutrient inputs. Because both Si concentrations and watershed exports are high in streams and rivers from many humid tropical catchments with siliceous bedrock, even the large increases in N and P exported from urban catchments result in delivery of Si, N, and P to coastal waters in stoichiometric ratios that are well in excess of the Si requirements of marine diatoms. Our data suggest that dissolved Si, often neglected in watershed biogeochemistry, should be included in studies of urban as well as less developed watersheds due to its potential significance for marine and lacustrine productivity.

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
Eastern Puerto Rico
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude


Start Date:
End Date:



Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
NSF EAR Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory 0722476
NSF EAR Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory 1331841
NSF DEB Luquillo LTER 0620919
NSF DEB Luquillo LTER 1239764
NSF DEB Luquillo LTER 1546686

How to Cite

McDowell, W., W. G. McDowell, J. Potter, A. Ramírez, M. Leon (2018). Data and R scripts for: Nutrient export and elemental stoichiometry in an urban tropical river, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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