Acta Oceanologica Sinica

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Developing nutrient criteria for the Jiulong River Estuary, Southeast China

  • Baoli Liu
  • Wenzhi Cao
  • Zheng Huang
  • Wenhui Chen
  • Huihuang Chen
  • Lusan Liu


One of the key concerns in estuarine and coastal environments is eutrophication, which is known to be closely connected to nutrient enrichment. To control and improve surface water quality, nutrient criteria are recommended in order to provide reference conditions for the environment. However, the current datasets of nutrient criteria in China are either designed for surface water or sea water, and as such these are not suitable for assessing estuarine water quality, especially given the unique ecosystem and dynamic properties of estuaries. To address this issue in current estuarine water management, nutrient criteria have been developed for a local estuary in the southeast of China. Segmentation of the Jiulong River Estuary, China was firstly analysed through field investigations carried out during 2013–2014, which resulted in the delineation of three segments characterized by their distinct properties in relation to salinity, hydrology, ecosystems, etc. Historical records from 1997 to 2014 were then analysed using statistical modelling to develop candidate nutrient criteria for the estuary. This stage of the analysis was undertaken in combination with the study of nutrient status records from the 1980s, which were used to establish a baseline reference condition. The recommended criteria values of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in Segments I, II and III of the Jiulong River Estuary are 64, 21 and 14 μmol/L, respectively, and the corresponding values for soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) are 0.89, 0.76 and 0.89 μmol/L, respectively. It should be emphasised that these values are site-dependent, and that different results may be achieved at other locations depending on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of an estuary, or even a single site within a catchment. It is hoped that by demonstrating a possible methodological approach and methods of nutrient criteria derivation in the Jiulong River Estuary, the current study will offer researchers some fundamental basis from which to begin to develop more complete nutrient criteria indices for the study of nutrient conditions in other estuaries throughout China.


estuarine segmentation nutrient criteria ecosystems based approach 


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baoli Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenzhi Cao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zheng Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenhui Chen
    • 3
  • Huihuang Chen
    • 3
  • Lusan Liu
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental ScienceXiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  2. 2.College of the Environment and EcologyXiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  3. 3.College of Geographical SciencesFujian Normal UniversityFuzhouChina
  4. 4.Chinese Research Academy of Environmental SciencesBeijingChina

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