Submarine Groundwater Discharge and its Influence on Primary Production in Japanese Coasts: Case Study in Obama Bay

Part of the Global Environmental Studies book series (GENVST)


We report the relationship between submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and primary production in the nearshore coast of Obama Bay, Japan, using three approaches. First, we conducted high-resolution mapping of 222Rn and biogeochemical properties along the coast. The eastern part of the bay was strongly influenced by groundwater through several direct and indirect pathways. Lower δ15N values in seaweed collected from the eastern area were indicative of larger influences of groundwater. Second, we measured the vertical distributions of 222Rn, salinity, and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentrations along two transects from onshore to offshore at two sites (Tomari and Kogasaki) located on the eastern coast of the bay. In Tomari, Chl-a concentrations were higher in the surface layer in the nearshore coastal area where 222Rn and salinity showed higher and lower values, respectively, due to terrestrial spring water and SGD in the intertidal zone. In contrast, higher 222Rn and Chl-a values were detected in the bottom layer in Kogasaki. This suggested that SGD was composed mainly of recirculated seawater discharge from the seafloor. Finally, temporal variations in multiple parameters related to SGD and phytoplankton production were recorded in Kogasaki in July and November. There was no clear relationship between tide and 222Rn concentrations in either month, but pCO2 and dissolved O2 showed clear diurnal variations. The estimated O2 production rate in July was higher than that in November. This seasonal difference may have been caused by differences in the SGD rate (7.1 cm d−1 in July and 3.7 cm d−1 in November).


Submarine groundwater discharge 222Rn Nutrients Primary production Coastal seas 



The transect survey from onshore to offshore in two transects were made in collaboration with Wakasa High School. We are grateful to the diving club members and their teachers, Dr. Yasuyuki Kosaka and Mr. Hiroaki Hirayama, and the headmaster of Wakasa High School for their assistance. This research was financially supported by the R-08-Init Project, entitled "Human-Environmental Security in Asia-Pacific Ring of Fire: Water-Energy-Food Nexus" the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), Kyoto, Japan.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Marine Bioscience, Faculty of Marine Bioscience, Fukui Prefectural UniversityFukuiJapan
  3. 3.Field Science Education and Research Center, Kyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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