Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 133–144 | Cite as

Seasonal succession in the diatom community of Sendai Bay, northern Japan, following the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake

  • Tsuyoshi Watanabe
  • Yukiko Taniuchi
  • Shigeho Kakehi
  • Tomoko Sakami
  • Akira Kuwata
Special Section: Original Article Oceanographic observations after the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku


Sendai Bay in northern Japan suffered serious damage from massive tsunamis generated by the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake. The physical disturbance caused by a tsunami may affect the coastal ecosystem, including the planktonic diatom community. We investigated seasonal changes in the diatom community structure at a coastal and an offshore station in Sendai Bay, from June 2011 (3 months after the tsunami) to April 2014. Diatom abundance increased at both stations during the spring. Sporadic increases were also recorded at the coastal station during the summer because of silicate input from river discharge. Seasonal succession of the diatom communities was similar at both the coastal and offshore stations. The onset of the spring bloom consisted mainly of Chaetoceros spp. when water temperatures were low. Subsequently, species such as Skeletonema costatum s.l. became dominant as salinity and nutrient concentrations decreased. Cell density decreased from summer into early winter. Leptocylindrus danicus became dominant in the summer, but was replaced by Thalassiosira cf. mala from autumn into winter. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that most of the variation in the diatom community could be explained by temperature, salinity, NO3 , NO2 , PO4 3−, and SiO2. In addition, the occurrence of diatom species before the tsunami showed a similar pattern to that after the tsunami, suggesting that the tsunami did not have a serious impact on the diatom community in Sendai Bay.


Chaetoceros Diatom Phytoplankton Sendai Bay Redundancy analysis (RDA) Skeletonema costatum s.l. 



We greatly thank Y. Sasaki and Dr. H. Saito for nutrient analyses, A. Izumi for concentration of phytoplankton samples, and the captain and crews of the R/Vs Wakataka-maru and Dainanakaiyou-maru for their cooperation. We also thank Dr. D. Jewson for his critical reading of the manuscript. We would like to thank Miyagi Prefecture for using the data set of environmental factors, and Editage ( and Edanz ( for English language editing. This work was supported by CREST (Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology) of the Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST).

Supplementary material

10872_2016_387_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (234 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 235 kb)
10872_2016_387_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (942 kb)
Fig. 1 Cluster dendrogram of 58 diatom communities at stations C5 and C12 in Sendai Bay, from June 2011 to April 2014. Five clusters were identified at the 37 % dissimilarity level. The numeric and alphabet characters under the dendrogram denote sample names, station-month-year; e.g., C5Jan12 is station C5 at January 2012. Where two samples were taken in the same month, the earlier sample is indicated by the letter ‘a’ at the end of the label name, and the later sample by the letter ‘b’. Labels show cluster name; Cluster I (12 samples from December to March), Cluster II (14 samples from February to May), Cluster III (12 samples from July to September), Cluster IV (ten samples from June to August), and Cluster V (ten samples from June to November) Fig. 2 Cluster dendrogram of 117 diatom species at stations C5 and C12 in Sendai Bay from June 2011 to April 2014. Six clusters were identified at the 46 % dissimilarity level. Cluster A was further divided into four subgroups, groups AI and AII, which were 35 %, and AIa and AIb, which were 12 %. Labels show cluster name; Cluster AIa (4 species), Cluster AIb (5 species), Cluster AII (12 species), Cluster B (18 species), Cluster C (23 species), Cluster D (26 species), Cluster E (8 species), and Cluster F (20 species) (PDF 715 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsuyoshi Watanabe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yukiko Taniuchi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Shigeho Kakehi
    • 1
  • Tomoko Sakami
    • 1
  • Akira Kuwata
    • 1
  1. 1.Tohoku National Fisheries Research InstituteShiogamaJapan
  2. 2.CREST, JSTKawaguchiJapan
  3. 3.Hokkaido National Fisheries Research InstituteKushiroJapan

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