Ulva prolifera green-tide outbreaks and their environmental impact in the Yellow Sea, China

The Ulva prolifera green tides in the Yellow Sea, China, which have been occurring since 2007, are a serious environmental problem attracting worldwide attention. Despite extensive research, the outbreak mechanisms have not been fully understood. Comprehensive analysis of anthropogenic and natural biotic and abiotic factors reveals that human activities, regional physicochemical conditions and algal physiological characteristics as well as ocean warming and biological interactions (with microorganism or other macroalgae) are closely related to the occurrence of green tides. Dynamics of these factors and their interactions could explain why green tides suddenly occurred in 2007 and decreased abruptly in 2017. Moreover, the consequence of green tides is serious. The decay of macroalgal biomass could result in hypoxia and acidification, possibly induce red tide and even have a long-lasting impact on coastal carbon cycles and the ecosystem. Accordingly, corresponding countermeasures have been proposed in our study for future reference in ecosystem management strategies and sustainable development policy.

Zhang Y., He P., Li H., Li G., Liu J., Jiao F., Zhang J., Huo Y., Shi X., Su R., Ye N., Liu D., Yu R., Wang Z., Zhou M. & Jiao N., 2019. Ulva prolifera green-tide outbreaks and their environmental impact in the Yellow Sea, China. National Science Review 6 (4): 825–838. Article (subscription required).

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