The influence of episodic flooding on a pelagic ecosystem in the East China Sea

Chung Chi Chen*, Gwo Ching Gong, Wen Chen Chou, Chih Ching Chung, Chih Hao Hsieh, Fuh Kwo Shiah, Kuo Ping Chiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to determine the effects of flooding on a pelagic ecosystem in the East China Sea (ECS) with a focus on plankton activity and plankton community respiration (CR). In July 2010, a flood occurred in the Changjiang River. As a comparison, a variety of abiotic and biotic parameters were monitored during this flooding event and during a non-flooding period (July 2009). During the flood, the Changjiang diluted water (CDW) zone covered almost two-thirds of the ECS, which was approximately 6 times the area covered during the non-flooding period. The mean nitrate concentration was 3-fold higher during the 2010 flood (6.2 vs. 2.0μM in 2009). CR was also higher in the 2010 flood: 105.6 mg Cm-3 d-1 vs. only 73.2 mg Cm-3 d-1 in 2009. The higher CR in 2010 could be attributed to phytoplankton respiration, especially at stations in the CDW zone that were not previously characterized by low sea surface salinity in 2009. In addition, zooplankton (> 330 μm) were another important component contributing to the high CR rate observed during the 2010 flood; this was a period also associated with a significant degree of fCO2 drawdown. These results collectively suggest that the 2010 flood had a significant effect on the carbon balance in the ECS. This effect might become more pronounced in the future, as extreme rainfall and flooding events are predicted to increase in both frequency and magnitude due to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2597-2609
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 22

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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