Scientia Marina, Vol 74, No 4 (2010)

Phytoplankton distribution and their relationship to environmental variables in Sanya Bay, South China Sea

Yanying Zhang
Key Laboratory of Marine Bio-resources Sustainable Utilization, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences - Hainan Tropical Marine Biology Station, China

Junde Dong
Key Laboratory of Marine Bio-resources Sustainable Utilization, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences - Hainan Tropical Marine Biology Station, China

Juan Ling
Key Laboratory of Marine Bio-resources Sustainable Utilization, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences - Hainan Tropical Marine Biology Station, China

Youshao Wang
Key Laboratory of Marine Bio-resources Sustainable Utilization, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Si Zhang
Key Laboratory of Marine Bio-resources Sustainable Utilization, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


Phytoplankton quantification was conducted in Sanya Bay from January 2005 to February 2006. A submersible in situ spectrofluorometer, which permits the differentiation of four algal groups (green algae, diatoms and dinoflagellates, cryptophytes and cyanobacteria) was used. Seasonal variation of total chlorophyll a concentration showed that high value appeared in summer and low concentration occurred in spring. Diatoms and dinoflagellates group was the predominant phytoplankton all year in the Bay. The stable stratification of phytoplankton vertical distribution came into being in July. During the stratification event, the total chlorophyll a concentration of deep layer was much higher than the surface; cyanobacteria and cryptophyta groups decreased and almost disappeared, however, the concentration of green algae and diatoms and dinoflagellates groups increased. In deep layer, the concentration of diatoms and dinoflagellates group increased sharply, which was about eight times more than that in the surface layer. The vertical profiles character of phytoplankton showed that from inshore stations to outer bay the stratification of phytoplankton vertical distribution gradually strengthened. Dissolved inorganic nutrient especially phosphate and inorganic nitrogen and cold-water upwelling were the main regulating factor for phytoplankton distribution.


phytoplankton; chlorophyll a; environmental variables; thermocline; Sanya Bay

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