||This study focuses on the relationship between hydrological and nutrient conditions in seawater surrounded by Dongsha Atoll. Dongsha Atoll is located in the northern South China Sea (NSCS), the water properties should be in coherence with the NSCS water masses. However, due to the semi-enclosed topography the water inside Dongsha Atoll is largely affected by local insolation and rainfall. |
Significant relationships between SiO2 or PO43- and salinity indicate that rainfall could be a major source of these nutrients. Insignificant relationship between N+N and salinity indicates that rainfall and nitrogen fixation both might affect the distribution of N+N. Temporal variations of temperature and chlorophyll a were alike, except for which occurred in July, 2011. It was probably caused by photo inhibition on phytoplankton growth. The inventory of chlorophyll a was positively correlated with both N+N and SiO2 but not with of PO43-, indicating that phytoplankton growth in Dongsha Atoll was mainly affected by N+N and SiO2. Phytoplankton growth maybe limited by N+N but not by SiO2, as the concentration of SiO2 was mostly beyond the limitation concentration for phytoplankton. According to close relationships between chlorophyll a and TSM, POC and PN, the particulate matter maybe mainly derived from biological origins. The inventory of chlorophyll a was positively correlated with both dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), manifesting the importance of biological origins for DOC and DON concentration.
The ratios of DOC/DON, DON/DOP and DOC/DOP within the atoll were in ranges of 7.34-303 (mean: 30.4), 3.00-142 (mean: 22.7) and 104-2546 (mean: 421), respectively. The ratios are higher than those values in NSCS and East China Sea, implying the excretion of carbon-enriched DOM by phytoplankton. The concentration of chlorophyll a, DOC and POC were higher in the Small Lagoon than in the Atoll Lagoon, implying a relatively high productivity in the Small Lagoon.
The fluxes of carbonate in the atoll was more than 30 times of the flux in the NSCS, due to its unique characteristics in the coral reef habitat. The organic matter of settling particulates was mainly derived from biological sources. The metal of enrichment factor of settling particulates reveals that Fe and Al are mainly derived from crustal sources, while Cu, Zn and Pb are likely influenced by anthropogenic sources.