, Volume 24, Issue 7–8, pp 1529–1539 | Cite as

Bacterial growth efficiency in a partly eutrophicated bay of South China Sea: Implication for anthropogenic impacts and potential hypoxia events

  • Xing-Yu SongEmail author
  • Hua-Xue Liu
  • Yu Zhong
  • Ye-Hui Tan
  • Geng Qin
  • Kai-Zhi Li
  • Ping-Ping Shen
  • Liang-Min Huang
  • You-Shao Wang


Bacterial metabolism plays a dual role [bacterial production (BP) and bacterial respiration (BR)] in the aquatic ecosystem and potentially leads to hypoxia in the coastal eutrophic area. Bacterial growth efficiency (BGE) is an important index showing the contribution of bacterial metabolism to marine biological production and carbon budget in the pelagic ecosystem. In this study, the spatial and seasonal variety as well as diurnal variation dynamics of BGE and associated ecological characteristics were investigated in a partly eutrophicated subtropical bay (the Daya Bay) located in the northern South China Sea. Furthermore, the relationship between bacterial metabolism and potential hypoxia event was analyzed. The average BGE was 0.14 and 0.22 in summer and winter, respectively, which was lower than the mean value ever reported in other coastal and estuarine waters. The diurnal variations of BGE and BP were widely fluctuated in the Daya Bay, with approximately 3–8 fold variation of BP and 2–3 fold variation of BR in different seasons, suggesting the importance of short-term ecological dynamics on evaluating the long-term ecological processes in the coastal waters. BR was the predominant contributor to the bacterial carbon demand; however, the variation of BGE was controlled by BP in both seasons. BGE was always high in the near-shore waters with higher eutrophic level and more active BP and BR. The bacterial metabolism could deplete dissolved oxygen (DO) in the Daya bay within about 9 days when the water body was enclosed and photosynthesis was prohibited. Therefore, low DO concentration and potential hypoxia was more likely to be found in the near-shore waters of the Daya Bay in summer, since the water was stratified and enclosed with poor water exchange capacity in this area. While in winter, hypoxia seldom occurred due to vertical mixing throughout the water column. Further biological–physical coupling research is recommended to find out the detailed formation mechanism of hypoxia in the bay, and to predict the potential hypoxia events and their environmental impacts in the future.


Bacterial growth efficiency Bacterial respiration Hypoxia Eutrophication Daya Bay 



This research was supported by the CAS Strategic Pilot Science and Technology of China (XDA11020205 and XDA05030403); the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2015CB452904); the National Project of Basic Sciences and Technology of China (2012FY112400 and 2013FY111200) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41276162, 41130855, and 41276161).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xing-Yu Song
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Hua-Xue Liu
    • 1
    • 4
  • Yu Zhong
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ye-Hui Tan
    • 1
  • Geng Qin
    • 1
  • Kai-Zhi Li
    • 1
  • Ping-Ping Shen
    • 1
  • Liang-Min Huang
    • 1
  • You-Shao Wang
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Bio-resources and Ecology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Daya Bay Marine Biology Research StationChinese Academy of ScienceShenzhenChina
  4. 4.South China Sea Fisheries Research InstituteChinese Academy of Fisheries SciencesGuangzhouChina

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