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Distribution and composition of suspended matters in the wintertime in the East China Sea

Lin, Jia, Xu, Xiao-Ming, Chen, Yong, Zhou, Qian-Zhi, Yuan, Li-Rong, Zhu, Qing, Wang, Jiang-Hai
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.664 pp. 322-333
bioactive properties, filtration, hydrodynamics, pollutants, porosity, sediments, winter, East China Sea, Yellow Sea
Total suspended matters (TSMs), as the sediment precursor, directly affect the mass exchange and sedimentation in the East China Sea (ECS). Ultrafine suspended matters (USMs) are an important component of the TSMs, and may play a significant role in regulating pollutant transfer and shaping biological communities. However, the conventional filtration may cause the loss of USMs because the filter membranes with the pore size of 0.45 μm were adopted to collect TSMs; and consequently, no data on USMs are currently available in continental shelves. In this study, the TSMs and USMs in the wintertime in the ECS were collected by using the filter membranes with the pore size of 0.22 μm for investigating their compositions, distributions and exchanges for the first time. The results show that the TSMs consisted of mineral particles (35–80%), biological fragments (10–50%), and flocs (10–40%); and mainly accumulated along the coastal belt and in southwest of the Cheju Island. Comparatively, the USMs were composed of fine biological fragments (10–70%), mineral particles (15–70%), and unrecognizable particles with various shapes (15–35%). They exhibited a clear heterogeneous distribution, namely, accumulated along the coastal belt and outer shelf, but dispersed in the mid-shelf, implying that USMs might be jointly controlled by biological activities, terrestrial inputs and hydrodynamic system in the ECS and the Yellow Sea. The distinct distribution difference between TSMs and USMs denotes their different exchange styles, i.e., for TSMs active in north of the ECS, and weak along the coastal front zone and 100 m isobath; while for USMs almost inactive along the coastal front zone, and active in the outer shelf. Our results may provide a novel clue for evaluating the contribution of TSMs to sedimentation, pollutant transfer and maintenance of marine biological communities with emphasis on the new method for collecting TSMs and USMs in the ECS.