Terrestrial organic matter (TOM) is an important component of marine sedimentary OM, and revealing the origins and transport mechanisms of TOM to the East China Sea (ECS) is important for understanding regional carbon cycle. A novel approach combining molecular proxies and compound-specific carbon isotopes is used to quantitatively constrain the origins and transport mechanisms of TOM in surface sediments from the ECS shelf. The content of terrestrial biomarkers of (C27+C29+C31) n-alkanes (52 to 580 ng g−1) revealed a seaward decreasing trend, the δ13CTOC values (−20.6‰ to −22.7‰) were more negative near the coast, and the TMBR (terrestrial and marine biomarker ratio) values (0.06 to 0.40) also revealed a seaward decreasing trend. These proxies all indicated more TOM (up to 48%) deposition in the coastal areas. The Alkane Index, the ratio of C29/(C29+C31) n-alkanes indicated a higher proportion of grass vegetation in the coastal area; While the δ13C values of C29 n-alkane (−29.3‰ to −33.8‰) indicated that terrestrial plant in the sediments of the ECS shelf were mainly derived from C3 plants. Cluster analysis afforded detailed estimates of different-sourced TOM contributions and transport mechanisms. TOM in the Zhejiang-Fujian coastal area was mostly delivered by the Changjiang River, and characterized by higher %TOM (up to 48%), higher %C3 plant OM (68%–85%) and higher grass plant OM (56%–61%); TOM in the mid-shelf area was mostly transported by aerosols, and characterized by low %TOM (less than 17%), slightly lower C3 plant OM (56%–72%) and lower grass plant OM (49%–55%).
Journal of Ocean University of China – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 12, 2017
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