Water,organic matter,nitrogen and phosphorus contents in sediment of a large-scale mariculture area in the Zhelin Bay of eastern Guangdong Province,China

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The Zhelin Bay is one of the most important bays for large-scale mariculture in Guangdong Province, China. Owing to the increasing human population and the expanding mariculture in the last two decades, the ecological environment has greatly changed with frequent harmful algal blooms. A monthly survey of water content, organic matter (TOM), and various forms of nitrogen and phosphorous in sediment from July 2002 to July 2003 in the bay was conducted. The results showed that the water content was correlated significantly with TOM and various forms of nitrogen and phosphorus and can be used as proxy for quick and rough estimate of these factors in the future surveys. TOM was also correlated significantly with various forms of nitrogen and phosphorus, indicating that it was one of the key factors affecting the concentrations and distributions of nitrogen and phosphorus in the investigated waters. Average total Kjeldhal nitrogen (TkN) content was(1 113.1±382.5)μg/g and average total phosphorus (TP) content was(567.2±223.3)μg/g, and both were much higher than those of similar estuaries in China and elsewhere. Average nitrogen and phosphorus tended to be higher inside than outside the bay, higher at aquaculture than non-aquaculture areas, and higher at fish-cage culture than oyster culture areas, suggesting that large-scale mariculture inside the bay played an important role in the eutrophication of the Zhelin Bay. Various forms of nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were higher during the warm season (July—September), which was due to the increased decomposition and concentration of organic matter resulted from the fast growth and high mortality of the cultured species. Compared with July 2002, TkN and TP contents were much higher in July 2003, in consonance with the eutrophication of the Zhelin Bay. Because exchangeable phosphorus (Ex-P), iron-bounded phosphorus (Fe-P) and organic phosphorus (OP) combined accounted for 34.3% of the TP and authigenic phosphorus (Au-P) accounted for 49.2% of the TP, biological phosphorus (BP) that includes Ex-P, Fe-P, OP, and a portion of Au-P, thus accounted for 34.3% to 83.5% of the TP in the Zhelin Bay, which was within the percentage range, but with a high absolute value among the estuaries. Au-P was the most important species of phosphorus and accounted for 49.2% of the TP during the investigation. Since eutrophication in the water column can lead to reduction of pH in sediment and release of phosphorus in Au-P combined with authigenic spodiosite and calcium carbonate, high content of Au-P in the sediment maybe act as a time bomb that can trigger a vicious cycle of eutrophication and large-scale harmful algal bloom in the Zhelin Bay.

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基金The Major Projects of Wenzhou Medical College under contra...

关键词Zhelin Bay, sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, water content, organic matter

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