The bacterial abundance and production in the East China Sea: seasonal variations and relationships with the phytoplankton biomass and production

Bingzhang Chen*, Bangqin Huang, Yuyuan Xie, Cui Guo, Shuqun Song, Hongbo Li, Hongbin Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The East China Sea is a productive marginal sea with a wide continental shelf and plays an important role in absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide and transferring terrigenous organic matter to the open ocean. To investigate the roles of heterotrophic bacteria in the biogeochemical dynamics in the East China Sea, bacterial biomasses (BB) and productions (BP) were measured in four cruises. The spatial distributions of the BB and the BP were highly season-dependent. Affected by the Changjiang River discharge, the BB and the BP were high in shelf waters (bottom depth not deeper than 50 m) and generally decreased offshore in August 2009. In December 2009 to January 2010, and November to December 2010, the BB and the BP were high in waters with medium bottom depth. The onshore-offshore decreasing trends of the BB and the BP also existed in May–June 2011, when the BB was significantly higher than in other cruises in shelf break waters (bottom depth deeper than 50 m but not deeper than 200 m). The results of generalized additive models (GAM) suggest that the BB increased with the temperature at a range of 8–20°C, increased with the chlorophyll concentration at a range of 0.02–3.00 mg/m3 and then declining, and decreased with the salinity from 28 to 35. The relationship between the temperature and the log-transformed bacterial specific growth rate (SGR) was linear. The estimated temperature coefficient (Q10) of the SGR was similar with that of the phytoplankton growth. The SGR also increased with the chlorophyll concentration. The ratio of the bacterial to phytoplankton production ranged from less than 0.01 to 0.40, being significantly higher in November- December 2010 than in May–June 2011. Calculated from the bacterial production and growth efficiency, the bacterial respiration consumed, on average, 59%, 72% and 23% of the primary production in August 2009, November–December 2010, and May–June 2011, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-177
Number of pages12
JournalActa Oceanologica Sinica
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2014


  • bacterial production
  • chlorophyll
  • East China Sea
  • generalized additive model
  • temperature


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