Trichodesmium is broadly distributed and occasionally blooms in the East China Sea (ECS) and southern Yellow Sea, where it contributes to local N and C budgets. However, its population structure, spatiotemporal distribution, controlling factors, and N2 fixation remain poorly documented. Here we provide high spatial resolution data sets of Trichodesmium during the four seasons of 2011–2012 using water‐ and net‐collected methods. The net‐collected method captures colonial trichomes of Trichodesmium effectively but results in an underestimation of free trichomes. Colonies are rarely observed and occur only on the ECS shelf, which are easily missed in water‐collected samples. Depth‐integrated densities of Trichodesmium were found to be significantly higher in warm seasons than in cold seasons. Maximum densities in the water column were generally found at depths of 10–50 m. Trichodesmium thrives on the oligotrophic, warm, offshore ECS shelf (controlled by the Kuroshio and Taiwan Warm Current), but restrains in the cold southern Yellow Sea and the eutrophic, inshore ECS. Seasonal and spatial variations in Trichodesmium are closely correlated with physicochemical properties (mainly temperature and P), which are primarily controlled by circulation alteration and water mass movement. The N2 fixation rates of Trichodesmium in the ECS in summer and autumn (>20°C) are roughly estimated at 17.1 and 41.7 μmol N m−2 d−1 under nonbloom conditions, which potentially contribute to 81% and 57% of biological N2 fixation, respectively. Compared with historical data since the 1970s, Trichodesmium densities have increased considerably in all seasons, and the distribution boundary has shifted northward under regional warming and hydrological changes.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;
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