Concentration of phosphate {PO4} per unit volume of the water body

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    Physical and chemical parameters at five Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) growing areas in Tasmania - Pittwater, Pipeclay Lagoon, Little Swanport, Georges Bay and Simpsons Bay - were measured as part of a study to determine the carrying capacity of the areas for oyster farming. This has provided valuable environmental data for these areas. The hydrodynamic regimes at each area except Simpsons Bay were studied, including high and low water volumes, flushing rates, flow rates and depth contours. Temperature, salinity and concentrations of nitrates, phosphates, silicates and chlorophyll a were measured monthly at several sites in each area. The change in these parameters over different time scales also was examined at two sites in Pittwater and indicated temporal and spatial variability in the environmental parameters measured.

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    Biologically relevant macronutrients, nitrate + nitrite, silicate, phosphate and ammonia, were measured at all sites throughout the study. Nitrate + nitrite values (NOx) at the surface showed clear seasonal trends, peaking over winter and drawing down to near zero in summer and autumn. Phosphate concentrations also reached a peak in winter, which was associated with Southern Ocean influence. Median ammonium concentrations at all sites were generally <0.5 μM, with no clear peaks in any season or month. Overall, the lowest values were measured in August and other months showed reasonable spread around the median. Median silicate concentrations were consistently highest at sites 1 and 9, followed by site 5. Water from the River Derwent flows through site 1, then tracks east towards site 9 then site 5. Seasonally, silicate was generally highest in winter when the River Derwent outflow is also greatest.