EPA-OW: NRSA Periphyton 2013 (Wade):  Periphyton sample collection in small wadeable streams

  • Summary
  • Analytes
  • Revision
  • Data and Sites
Official Method Name
Section 7: Wadeable Streams-Periphyton (of National Rivers and Streams Assessment: Field Operations Manual (2013))
Current Revision
WATER  (Waterbody type - Wadeable stream)
Algal sampling devices
Method Subcategory
Method Source
  National Rivers and Streams Assessment 2013/14: Field Operations Manual–Wadeable
EPA-841-B-12-009 - National Rivers and Streams Assessment: Field Operations Manual (2013)
Brief Method Summary
This method is in USGS BioData as APER for composite periphyton. Collect periphyton from the 11 cross-section transects (“A” through “K”) established within the sampling reach. Collect periphyton samples at the same transect location (L, C, or R) as the benthic macroinvertebrate samples (Section 6) directly after collecting the benthic macroinvertebrate sample. Prepare one composite “index” sample of periphyton for each site. At the completion of the day's sampling activities, but before leaving the site, prepare three types of laboratory samples (an ID/enumeration sample to determine taxonomic composition and relative abundances, a chlorophyll sample, and a biomass sample (for ash-free dry mass [AFDM]) from the composite periphyton sample.
Scope and Application
Methods described in this document are to be used specifically in work relating to the National Rivers and Streams Assessment. This document contains proceedures for how to collect periphyton samples.
Applicable Concentration Range
Collect the substrate selected for sampling from a depth no deeper than 0.5 m. If you cannot collect a sample because the location is too deep, skip the transect. The samples need to be kept cool and dark because a chlorophyll sample will be filtered from the composite.
Quality Control Requirements
You will prepare three different types of laboratory samples from the composite index samples: an ID/enumeration sample (to determine taxonomic composition and relative abundances), a chlorophyll sample, and a biomass sample (for ash-free dry mass [AFDM]). All the sample containers required for an individual site should be sealed in plastic bags until use to avoid external sources of contamination (e.g., dust, dirt, or mud) that are present at site shorelines.
Sample Handling
Follow the proceedure outlined in table 7.2 for collecting index samples of periphyton at non-wadeable sites. Place bottle in a cooler on ice while you travel between transects and collect the subsequent samples.
Maximum Holding Time
Relative Cost
Sample Preparation Methods
Collect one sample from each of the transects and composite in one bottle to produce one composite sample for each site.