Nutrients and Their Transport in the Changjiang River

  • Zhiliang ShenEmail author
  • Qun Liu
Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)


Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and silicate (SiO3–Si) in the Changjiang mainstream and its major tributaries and lakes were investigated. An even distribution of SiO3–Si was found along the Changjiang River. However, the concentrations of total nitrogen (TN), total dissolved nitrogen, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), nitrate (NO3–N) and total phosphorus (TP), and total particulate phosphorus increased notably in the upper reaches, which reflected an increasing impact from human activities. Those concentrations in the middle and lower reaches of the river were relatively constant. Dissolved N was the major form of N and the particulate P was the major form of P in the Changjiang River. The molar ratio of dissolved N to dissolved P was extremely high (192.5–317.5), while that of the particulate form was low (5.6–37.7). High N/P ratio reflected a significant input of anthropogenic N such as N from precipitation and N lost from water and soil. Dissolved N and P were in a quasi-equilibrium state in the process from precipitate to the river. In the turbid river water, light limitation, rather than P limitation, seemed more likely to be a controlling factor for the growth of phytoplankton. A positive linear correlationship between the concentration of dissolved N and the river’s runoff was found, mainly in the upper reaches, which was related to the non-point sources of N. Over the past decades, N concentration has greatly increased, but the change of P concentration was not as significant as N. The nutrient fluxes of the Changjiang mainstream and tributaries were mainly controlled by the runoff, of which more than a half came from the tributaries .


Nutrients Distributions Molar ratios Historical changes Transport Changjiang River 


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Marine Ecology and Environmental SciencesInstitute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Jiaozhou Bay Marine Ecosystem Research StationInstitute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina

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