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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 475:1-14 (2013)  -  DOI:

Palaeoecological analysis of phytoplankton regime shifts in response to coastal eutrophication

Dongyan Liu1,*, Xuhong Shen1,2, Baoping Di1, Yajun Shi1, John K. Keesing1,3, Yujue Wang1, Yueqi Wang1,2

1Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental Processes, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental Processes, 264003, Yantai, Shandong, PR China
2Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049, Beijing, PR China
3CSIRO Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, Marine and Atmospheric Research, Private Bag 5, Wembley, Western Australia 6913, Australia

ABSTRACT: We used a multiple-proxy palaeoecological method to reconstruct a 100 yr time series showing coastal eutrophic processes and phytoplankton responses. Total organic carbon, total nitrogen, diatom frustules, dinoflagellate cysts, brassicasterol and dinosterol were extracted from chronologic sediment cores in Sishili Bay, a polluted area in China. The cores showed that eutrophication occurred during about 1975 to 1985, which corresponds to increased human activity associated with China’s economic development since 1978. During eutrophication, the biomass of diatoms and dinoflagellates increased, and dominant species shifted abruptly. The small, heavily silicified diatoms Cyclotella stylorum and Paralia sulcata gradually took the place of the large dominant diatom Coscinodiscus radiatus, while dinoflagellates displayed a progressive increase since 1975. Compared to changes in temperature and rainfall during 1950 to 2010, increased fertilizer use, marine aquaculture and sewage discharge showed a better match to the increasing trend in biomass, species shift and nutrient concentration. Altered nutrient supply ratios caused by increased nitrogen inputs play an important role in the shifts in diatom and dinoflagellate assemblages.

KEY WORDS: Palaeoecology · Eutrophication · Diatom · Dinoflagellate · Biomarkers

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Cite this article as: Liu D, Shen X, Di B, Shi Y, Keesing JK, Wang Y, Wang Y (2013) Palaeoecological analysis of phytoplankton regime shifts in response to coastal eutrophication. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 475:1-14.

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