Biogeochemical characteristics of suspended particulate matter in deep chlorophyll maximum layers in the southern East China Sea

Liu, Qianqian; Kandasamy, Selvaraj; Lin, Baozhi; Wang, Huawei; Chen, Chen-Tung Arthur

Continental shelves and marginal seas are key sites of particulate organic matter (POM) production, remineralization and sequestration, playing an important role in the global carbon cycle. Elemental and stable isotopic compositions of organic carbon and nitrogen are thus frequently used to characterize and distinguish POM and its sources in suspended particles and surface sediments in the marginal seas. Here we investigated suspended particulate matter (SPM) collected around deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) layers in the southern East China Sea for particulate organic carbon and nitrogen (POC and PN) contents and their isotopic compositions (inline-formulaδ13Cinline-formulaPOC and inline-formulaδ15Ninline-formulaPN) to understand provenance and dynamics of POM. Hydrographic parameters (temperature, salinity and turbidity) indicated that the study area was weakly influenced by freshwater derived from the Yangtze River during summer 2013. Elemental and isotopic results showed a large variation in inline-formulaδ13Cinline-formulaPOC (inline-formula−25.8 to inline-formula−18.2 ‰) and inline-formulaδ15Ninline-formulaPN (3.8 to 8.0 ‰), but a narrow molar C inline-formula∕ N ratio (4.1–6.3) and low POC inline-formula∕ Chl inline-formulaa ratio (inline-formula< 200 g ginline-formula−1) in POM, and indicated that the POM in DCM layers was newly produced by phytoplankton. In addition to temperature effects, the range and distribution of inline-formulaδ13Cinline-formulaPOC were controlled by variations in primary productivity and phytoplankton species composition; the former explained inline-formula∼ 70 % of the variability in inline-formulaδ13Cinline-formulaPOC. However, the variation in inline-formulaδ15Ninline-formulaPN was controlled by the nutrient status and inline-formulaδ15Ninline-formula M24inlinescrollmathml chem normal NO normal 3 - 19pt12ptsvg-formulamathimgb1e0dbdb207690a6775490e9088e3359 bg-15-2091-2018-ie00001.svg19pt12ptbg-15-2091-2018-ie00001.png in seawater, as indicated by similar spatial distribution between inline-formulaδ15Ninline-formulaPN and the current pattern and water masses in the East China Sea; although interpretations of inline-formulaδ15Ninline-formulaPN data should be verified with the nutrient data in future studies. Furthermore, the POM investigated was weakly influenced by the terrestrial OM supplied by the Yangtze River during summer 2013 due to the reduced sediment supply by the Yangtze River and north-eastward transport of riverine particles to the northern East China Sea. We demonstrated that the composition of POM around DCM layers in the southern East China Sea is highly dynamic and largely driven by phytoplankton abundance. Nonetheless, additional radiocarbon and biomarker data are needed to re-evaluate whether or not the POM around the DCM water depths is influenced by terrestrial OM in the river-dominated East China Sea.

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Liu, Qianqian / Kandasamy, Selvaraj / Lin, Baozhi / et al: Biogeochemical characteristics of suspended particulate matter in deep chlorophyll maximum layers in the southern East China Sea. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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