Journal of Oceanology and Limnology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 552–567 | Cite as

The environmental implication of diatom fossils in the surface sediment of the Changjiang River estuary (CRE) and its adjacent area

  • Xin Fan
  • Fangjin Cheng
  • Zhiming Yu
  • Xiuxian SongEmail author


In order to depict the distribution of diatom fossils in surface sediments and to establish a reliable reference data for further paleoenvironmental study in the Changjiang (Yangtze) River estuary and its adjacent waters, the diatom fossils from 34 surface sediment samples and their relationship with environmental variables were analyzed by principal component analysis and redundancy correspondence analysis. The diversity and abundance of diatom fossils were analyzed. Some annual average parameters of the overlying water (salinity, temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, depth, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, dissolved inorganic phosphate and dissolved inorganic silicate) were measured at each sampling site. A total of 113 diatom taxa and one silicoflagellate species were identified in the investigation area. Diatom fossils were better preserved in fine sediments. The absolute abundance of diatom fossils did not significantly differ between inshore and offshore areas, the species diversity decreased from inshore to offshore. This may be because high nutrients and low salinity promoted the growth of more brackish species in coastal waters. The diatom taxa were divided into three groups, on the basis of their response and indication to environmental changes. For example, Actinocyclus ehrenbergii and Cyclotella stylorum were dominant in coastal waters (Group 1 and Group 3) with high nutrients and low salinity; the relative abundances of Paralia sulcata and Podosira stelliger were significantly higher in offshore sites (Group 2, average 39.5%), which were characterized by high salinity and deep water. Four environmental variables (salinity, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, temperature and water depth) explained the composition and distribution of diatom taxa independently ( P< 0.05), this finding can be applied in further paleoenvironmental reconstruction research in this area.


diatom fossils Changjiang River estuary surface sediments environmental variables 


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We thank editor and three reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xin Fan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Fangjin Cheng
    • 4
  • Zhiming Yu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiuxian Song
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Marine Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Marine Ecology and Environmental ScienceQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Environmental Monitoring Center of QingdaoQingdaoChina

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