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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(9), 12297-12313; doi:10.3390/rs70912297

World’s Largest Macroalgal Blooms Altered Phytoplankton Biomass in Summer in the Yellow Sea: Satellite Observations

Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 17 Chunhui Road, Laishan District, Yantai 264003, China
The Sino-Australian Research Centre for Coastal Management, School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Northcott Drive, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia
College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 Seventh Avenue, South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 164 Xingang West Road, Guangzhou 510301, China
State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, 129 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Richard L. Miller, Cheng-Chien Liu and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 29 July 2015 / Accepted: 11 September 2015 / Published: 21 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Biogeochemical Cycles)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1476 KB, uploaded 21 September 2015]   |  


Since 2008, the world’s largest blooms of the green macroalgae, Ulva prolifera, have occurred every summer in the Yellow Sea, posing the question of whether these macroalgal blooms (MABs) have changed the phytoplankton biomass due to their perturbations of nutrient dynamics. We have attempted to address this question using long-term Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations. A new MODIS monthly time-series of chlorophyll-a concentrations (Chl-a, an index of phytoplankton biomass) was generated after removing the macroalgae-contaminated pixels that were characterized by unexpectedly high values in the daily Chl-a products. Compared with Chl-a during July of 2002–2006 (the pre-MAB period), Chl-a during July of 2008–2012 (the MAB period) exhibited significant increases in the offshore Yellow Sea waters (rich in macroalgae), with mean Chl-a increased by 98% from 0.64 µg/L to 1.26 µg/L in the study region. In contrast, no significant Chl-a changes were observed during June between the two periods. After analyzing sea surface temperature, photosynthetically available radiation, and nutrient availability, we speculate that the observed Chl-a changes are due to nutrient competition between macroalgae and phytoplankton: during the MAB period, the fast-growing macroalgae would uptake the increased nutrients from the origin of Jiangsu Shoal; thus, the nutrients available to phytoplankton were reduced, leading to no apparent increases in biomass in the offshore Yellow Sea in June. View Full-Text
Keywords: macroalgal blooms; Ulva prolifera; phytoplankton; nutrient competition; chlorophyll-a; ocean color; MODIS; Yellow Sea macroalgal blooms; Ulva prolifera; phytoplankton; nutrient competition; chlorophyll-a; ocean color; MODIS; Yellow Sea

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Xing, Q.; Hu, C.; Tang, D.; Tian, L.; Tang, S.; Wang, X.H.; Lou, M.; Gao, X. World’s Largest Macroalgal Blooms Altered Phytoplankton Biomass in Summer in the Yellow Sea: Satellite Observations. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 12297-12313.

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