Impacts of large-scale aquaculture activities on the seawater carbonate system and air-sea CO2 flux in a subtropical mariculture bay, southern China

In this study, the variations of the seawater carbonate system parameters and air-sea CO2 flux (FCO2) of Shen’ao Bay, a typical subtropical aquaculture bay located in China, were investigated in spring 2016 (March to May). Parameters related to the seawater carbonate system and FCO2 were measured monthly in 3 different aquaculture areas (fish, oyster and seaweed) and in a non-culture area near the bay mouth. The results showed that the seawater carbonate system was markedly influenced by the biological processes of the culture species. Total alkalinity was significantly lower in the oyster area compared with the fish and seaweed areas, mainly because of the calcification process of oysters. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and CO2 partial pressure ( pCO2) were highest in the fish area, followed by the oyster and non-culture areas, and lowest in the seaweed area. Oysters and fish can have indirect influences on DIC and pCO2by releasing nutrients, which facilitate the growth of seaweed and phytoplankton and therefore promote photosynthetic CO2 fixation. For these reasons, Shen’ao Bay acts as a potential CO2 sink in spring, with an average FCO2 ranging from -1.2 to -4.8 mmol m-2 d-1. CO2 fixation in the seaweed area was the largest contributor to CO2 flux, accounting for ca. 58% of the total CO2 sink capacity of the entire bay. These results suggest that the carbonate system and FCO2 of Shen’ao Bay were significantly affected by large-scale mariculture activities. A higher CO2 sink capacity could be acquired by extending the culture area of seaweed.

Han T., Shi R., Qi Z., Huang H. & Gong X., 2021. Impacts of large-scale aquaculture activities on the seawater carbonate system and air-sea CO2 flux in a subtropical mariculture bay, southern China. Aquaculture Environment Interactions 13: 199-210. Article.

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