The research area mainly target at some unique sub-ecosystems in the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, and East China Sea, such as hypoxia zone off the Changjiang Estuary and aquacultural sites in Shandong peninsula. The major scientific questions to be addressed are:
Impact of multi-stressors on biogeochemical cycles in coastal ecosystems (e.g. hydrodynamic control of biogenic element cycles, coupling ... mechanism of primary production with biogeochemical processes).
Response of the function of ecosystem in hypoxia zone of the East China Sea to multi-stressors (e.g. the role of metabolism and redox process on element cycles, impact of hypoxia to the function and structure of marine ecosystem, impact of open ocean and atmosphere).
Adaptive strategies of coastal aquacultural ecosystem with multi-stressors (e.g. the supporting role of main biogeochemical processes in food production and food web trophodynamics of major biological functional groups, adaptive strategies to fishery management).
Besides field observations on physical, chemical, and biological properties of ecosystems in East China Sea, Changjiang Estuary, and the coastal area of Shandong Peninsula, historical data analyzing, numerical modelling, and microcosm experiments, were proposed to achieve the project goals.
The program is structured along with five sub-projects:
(1) Biogeochemical Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems
The sub-project one is designed to study the inter-links between external forcing and material cycles of seasonal hypoxia in the East China Sea and the areas of integrated maulti-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in the coastal Shandong Peninsula, particularly the study will be focused on the transfer and pathways of carbon and trace elements in the shelf region. The proposed research topics of this sub-project have following four cross-linked components:
a) Regulation of carbon cycle in the East China Sea Shelf by the coupling of biogeochemical and hydrodynamic processes
b) Identification of various sources of nutrients in the area of marine aquaculture and their impact on the food-web structure
c) Influence of coastal hypoxia on the coupling of benthic system with the pelagic processes in the coast
d) Discrimination of heterotrophic decomposition of organic matter and hydrodynamic processes on the change in the particulate organic matter flux
e) It is hoped that implementation of this study will provide with knowledge towards the understanding biogeochemical dynamics on the transfer and transportation of biogenic and trace elements in the changing coastal ocean.
(2) Nutrient Cycles and Response to Multi-stressors
Field investigations, incubations and modeling studies will be conducted to understand oxygen consumption and accompanying nutrient transfer during organic matter decomposition, feedback of greenhouse gases to atmosphere and ocean, response of nutrient composition to environmental change and its impact on food webs, and main factors influencing nutrient transfer and turnover in investigated ecosystems.
(3) Response of the Hydrodynamics to Multi-stressors and Its impact on the Supply of Nutrients
The aim of this sub-project is to explore the variability of the coastal hydrographic environments and their impacts on the supplying and transporting of the nutrients in China seas. The research issues include the temporal and spatial variability of the hydrographic environment under the climate changes and human activities, the impact of the physical factors on water exchange, nutrient supplying and transporting, and primary production.
(4) Microbial Loop and Coupling with Biogeochemical Cycles
Microbial food web is import component of marine pelagic food web. It also plays important role in biogeochemical processes in the ocean. This sub-project focuses on (1) the response of microbial food web to biogeochemical processes and (2) the role of microbial food web in the regeneration of biogenic element in the Changjiang Estuary and aquaculture areas in Shandong Peninsula, which receive heavy fresh water input and heavy pressure of aquaculture, respectively. Field investigations will be carried out in the two areas to study the seasonal variations of the microbial processes. Microbial samples and in situ incubations will be analysed along with other project in our program to understand the influence of anoxia and aquatural animals and plants on the microbial processes.
(5) Feedback Mechanisms of Ecosystem Structure and Function to Climate Change and Human Activities
Field investigations in the aquaculture areas in Shandong Peninsula, microcosm and modeling studies will be undertaken to analysis the effect of aquaculture, fishing and enhancement activities on the structure and function of ecosystem, as well as response of ecosystem to multiple stresses to bring forward the adaptive management strategies to maintain the sustainable development of ecosystem