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mongolia
researchers in rafts with equipment

Another lake successfully cored—St. Olaf professor Charles Umbanhower and student Lizz Johnson

Mongolia Environmental Database

The Mongolia Environmental Database (EDB) for this project primarily consists of geochemical analyses of water samples collected (a) specifically to correspond to the habitats of collected organisms, as well as (b) generally to characterize the sampled water body. In addition, some surface-sediment samples were collected and characterized simply for major components (organic, inorganic, and carbonate fractions).

The database (EDB) is organized according to the following conventions:

Site: A “site” refers to a hydrologic feature or water body with its own unique set of water sources. Examples of types of sites are lakes, springs, points along a river or stream. A spring seep alongside a lakeshore would be a separate site from the lake, because the source of the water to the spring (groundwater) is different from the sources feeding the lake (runoff, streamflow input, precipitation, and groundwater). In other words, a “site” is any place we sampled where we could expect that the water chemistry might be different from other sites because of having different source waters. Each site is given a unique site number (SITENUM). For very large lakes, sampling locations on different shores were sometimes given their own site number.

Subsite: A “subsite” is a habitat or segment of a site that shares the basic water inputs at the site, but may have a distinctive chemistry because of within-site processes. The epilimnion, hypolimnion, and littoral zones were considered to be subsites of the lake. A splash pool beside a lake was considered to be a subsite, unless the pool appeared to be influenced by groundwater seepage, in which case it was designated as its own site. Sites other than lakes did not have subsites.

Water sample: The water sample is the main entity of this database. Each water sample is given a unique identifier (WID). Samples were collected to be as representative as possible of the habitat for each biotic collection. Consequently, each biotic collection should have an associated WID number corresponding to the most pertinent water sample.

Other data: At some lake sites, water column profiles of field data (temperature, specific conductance, pH, and dissolved oxygen) were measured. For many lakes, surface sediment was collected and characterized for basic components. Identification numbers were assigned to each lake profile (PROFID) and surface-sediment sample (SSID) and related to specific sites via the SITENUM.

Metadata: The first page of each Excel spreadsheet consists of metadata explaining the format and meaning of each of the fields in the accompanying data sheets.

Data Availability

The following data files are available to download in MS Excel (*.xls) format:

Identifier files
SiteID Site identifiers, locations, and hydrologic setting information
WaterSampleID Water sample identifiers, locations, dates, and analyses available
LakeProfileID Selected locations and dates for lakes where a depth profile of field variables (T, SC, pH, and DO) was obtained
SurfSedID Selected locations where lake surface sediment samples were obtained

Water chemistry files (data for each water sample) (files coming soon)
FieldQW T, SC, pH, and DO
Anions Constituents determined via ion chromatograph. Typically includes Cl, Br, and SO4
Cations Constituents determined via inductively-coupled plasma and mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS). These include not only species that are commonly cations in solution, but a few neutral species as well: Ca, Mg, Na, K, Fe, Mn, Al, Sr, Ba, Li, and Si.
DIC Dissolved inorganic carbon and presumed carbonate speciation
DOC Dissolved organic carbon
Nutrients Common nutrient species including TP, TN, NO3-N, Kjeldahl-N, NH4-N, and organic-N
Isotopes Oxygen-18, deuterium, and inorganic carbon-13

Data files for selected locations (files coming soon)
LakeProfiles Depth profiles of T, SC, pH, and DO for selected lakes
SurfSedLOI Characterization of selected lake-sediment surface samples for organic, carbonate, and residual mineral matter content as determined by loss-on-ignition (LOI) analyses