Sandy beach aquifers are complex hydrological and biogeochemical systems where fresh groundwater and seawater mix. The extent of the intertidal mixing zone and the rates of circulating flows within beaches are a primary control on porewater chemistry and microbiology of the intertidal subsurface. Interplay between the hydrological and biogeochemical processes at these land-sea transition zones moderate fluxes of chemicals, particulates, heavy metals, and biota across the aquifer-ocean interface, affecting coastal water quality and nutrient loads to marine ecosystems. Thus, it is important to characterize hydrological and biogeochemical processes in beach aquifers when estimating material fluxes to the ocean. This can be achieved through a suite of cross-disciplinary measurements of beach groundwater flow and chemistry. In this review, we present measurement approaches that have been developed and employed to characterize the physical (geology, topography, subsurface hydrology) and biogeochemical (solute and particulate distributions, reaction rates) properties of and processes occurring within sandy intertidal aquifers. As applied to beach systems, we discuss vibracoring, sample collection, laboratory experiments, variable-density considerations, instrument construction, and sensor technologies. We discuss advantages and limitations of typical hydrologic field sampling methods when used to investigate beach aquifers and provide a measurement framework for researchers seeking to sample and collect data from these systems.
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