Plant Nutrients and Trace Elements from the Changjiang Watersheds to the East China Sea

  • Jing ZhangEmail author
  • Ying Wu
  • Ying Ying Zhang
Part of the Estuaries of the World book series (EOTW)


Over the last several decades, the Changjiang (Yangtze River) watersheds has suffered from an acceleration of economic activities and changing land-use patterns. Monitoring programs at downstream hydrological stations and data from field campaigns have shown that these changes have caused an increase in the loss of chemical elements (e.g., plant nutrients such as N, P, and Si) from catchment areas and changes in pollutant discharges (e.g., trace elements). Changes in plant nutrients and trace elements in the river have altered the partitioning of chemical species between water and solid phases (e.g., total suspended matter) in aquatic systems, in both freshwater and marine environments. Irreversible element partitioning in rivers and coastal waters can affect the bioavailability of chemical species in adjacent marine environments, which can in turn impact ecosystem structure and functioning. In the East China Sea, the continual increase in plant nutrient fluxes from land sources, such as the Changjiang, has caused eutrophication in surface waters of the coastal environment. The degradation of organic matter, either allochthonous or autochthonous in origin or both, has fueled heterotrophic processes that induce the seasonal depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO) and even hypoxia in the Changjiang Estuary and the inner shelf of the East China Sea. Based on observational hydrography and chemistry data, a box model approach is used in this study to describe the plant nutrient and trace element budgets. The results illustrate that incursion across the shelf break of the western boundary current system (i.e., Kuroshio) has a significant influence on the inventory and residence time of chemical elements such as plant nutrients on the East China Sea Shelf.


Changjiang Watersheds Estuary East China Sea Plant nutrients Trace elements 



This work is based on research started in the mid-1990s, with financial support from the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Numbers: 47021004 and 41021064), the Ministry of Education of China (Grant Number: ITR0472), the Municipalities of Shanghai, China (Grant Number: 088014192), and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant Numbers: 2006CB400600 and 2011CB409801). We are highly indebted to colleagues and students from the College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (OUC) and State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (ECNU) for the support during field campaigns and cruises, sample collection, and laboratory analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal ResearchEast China Normal UniversityPutuoChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringYancheng Institute of TechnologyYanchengChina

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