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MEcoPAM project website

National Basic Research Program of China

Sustainability of Marine Ecosystem Production under Multi-stressors and Adaptive Management (MEcoPAM)


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Project summary

The goal of this project is to investigate the key process of integrated marine biogeochemistry and marine food web and elucidate the impact of multi-stressors on sustainable production of marine ecosystem. The key questions of this program is to identify and characterize the interaction of marine biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystem, and to understand the response of sustainability of typical marine ecosystem to multi-stressors. Its successful implementation should have strong scientific basis to the management of sustainability of Chinese coastal ecosystem production.

The project will develop strong interaction and integration of teams and members from multi-disciplinary in marine ecosystem science. Significant efforts will be made to foster excellent young scientists pursuing in the frontiers within the program. The public database and resource of coastal ecosystem will be developed and maintained.   

The research mainly focuses at the hypoxia zone near the Changjiang Estuary and the aquaculture area in Shandong peninsula and deals with the following issues to explore the impact of marine biogeochemical cycles on marine food web:

  • Impact of multi-stressors on biogeochemical processes in coastal ecosystems
    Including the physical mechanisms of biogenic element cycle and supplement, coupling mechanism of primary production with major biogeochemical processes, etc.
  • Response of  ecosystem function in hypoxia zone of the East China Sea to multi-stressors
    Including the control role of biological consumption and redox processes of elements cycles, Impact of hypoxia to marine ecosystem’s function and structure, impact of hypoxia to open ocean and the response to atmosphere, etc.
  • Adaptive strategies of coastal aquacultural ecosystem with multi-stressors
    Including the supporting role of main biogeochemical processes in food production food web trophodynamics of major   biological functional groups, the biogeochemical processes of food production, adaptive strategies to fishery management, etc.

The program is divided into five sub-projects:

  • Biogeochemical Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems
    The sub-project one is designed to study the inter-links between external forcing and material cycles of seasonal hypoxia in the East China Sea and the areas of integrated maulti-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in the coastal Shandong Peninsula, particularly the study will be focused on the transfer and pathways of carbon and trace elements in the shelf region. The proposed research topics of this sub-project have following four cross-linked components:  
    • Regulation of carbon cycle in the East China Sea Shelf by the coupling of biogeochemical and hydrodynamic processes
    • Identification of various sources of nutrients in the area of marine aquaculture and their impact on the food-web structure
    • Influence of coastal hypoxia on the coupling of benthic system with the pelagic processes in the coast
    • Discrimination of heterotrophic decomposition of organic matter and hydrodynamic processes on the change in the particulate organic matter flux
    • It is hoped that implementation of this study will provide with knowledge towards the understanding biogeochemical dynamics on the transfer and transportation of biogenic and trace elements in the changing coastal ocean.
  • Nutrient Cycles and Response to Multi-stressors
    The researchers will carry out 6 cruises in the Changjiang Estuary and the East China Sea Shelf and 8 -10 cruises in the aquacultural areas in the Shandong Peninsula . Field investigations, incubations and modeling studies will be conducted to understand oxygen consumption and accompanying nutrient transfer during organic matter decomposition, feedback of greenhouse gases to atmosphere and ocean, response of nutrient composition to environmental change and its impact on food webs, and main factors influencing nutrient transfer and turnover in investigated ecosystems.
  • Response of the Hydrodynamics to Multi-stressors and Its impact on the Supply of Nutrients
    The retrospective analysis, field observation and numerical simulation will be used to explore the variability of the coastal hydrographic environments and their impacts on the supplying and transporting of the nutrients. The research issues include the temporal and spatial variability of the hydrographic environment under the climate changes and human activities, the impact of the physical factors on water exchange, nutrient supplying and transporting, and primary production.
  • Microbial Loop and Coupling with Biogeochemical Cycles
    Microbial food web is import component of marine pelagic food web. It also plays important role in biogeochemical processes in the ocean.  This sub-project focuses on (1) the response of microbial food web to biogeochemical processes and (2) the role of microbial food web in the regeneration of biogenic element in the Changjiang Estuary and aquacultural areas in the Shandong Peninsula, which receive heavy fresh water input and heavy pressure of aquaculture, respectively. Field investigations will be carried out in the two areas to study the seasonal variations of the microbial processes. Microbial samples and in situ incubations will be analysed along with other project in our program to understand the influence of anoxia and aquatural animals and plants on the microbial processes.
  • Feedback Mechanisms of Ecosystem Structure and Function to Climate Change and Human Activities
    More than 16 cruises will be carried out in aquaculture and enhancement areas in the Shandong Peninsula. Field investigations, microcosm and modeling studies will be undertaken to analysis the effect of aquaculture, fishing and enhancement activities on the structure and function of ecosystem, as well as response of ecosystem to multiple stresses to bring forward the adaptive management strategies to maintain the sustainable development of ecosystem.

Project duration: 1 Janurary 2011 - 31 December 2015

Sponsor:The Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’ Republic of China

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Scientific team

Project leader

Jing Zhang

East China Normal University

3663 Zhongshan Road North, Shanghai 200062, China

E-mail: jzhang@sklec.ecnu.edu.cn

Sub-project leaders

Sumei Liu

Ocean University of China

Qingdao, China

E-mail: sumeiliu@mail.ouc.edu.cn

Daji Huang

Second Insititute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration

Hangzhou, China

E-mail: djhuang@sio.org.cn

Tian Xiao

Insititute of Oceanogology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Qingdao, China

E-mail: txiao@qdio.ac.cn

Jianguang Fang

Yellow Sea Fishery Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Science

Qingdao, China

E-mail: fangjg@ysfri.ac.cn

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Data management

The data linked to this project will be stored at “Data Archive & Sharing Network for Resource and Environment Project of 973 Program” that comprises data from all of the China 973 projects (http://www.973geodata.cn/). Data set will include physical, chemical, and biological data observed within the duration of this project at East China Sea shelf and Sanggou Bay aquaculture area.


Major cruises:


  • May 6th - 22th, 2013: East China Sea shelf
  • August 1st - 31st, 2013: East China Sea shelf and Changjiang Esturay

Sampling sites (May 2013)


  • May 11th - June 7th, 2011: East China Sea shelf
  • August 10th - 30th, 2011: East China Sea shelf
  • November 15th - 28th, 2011: East China Sea shelf

Sampling sites (May-June 2011)


Sampling sites (August 2011)


Sampling sites (August 2011)


Sampling sites (November 2011)


Reifeng Zhang

State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research
East China Normal University
3663 Zhongshan Road North, Shanghai, China
Email: rfzhang@sklec.ecnu.edu.cn

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Special Issue

DSR II Volume 124

Jing Zhang, Daji Huang, Tian Xiao, Sumei Liu and Jiangguang Fang (Eds.), 2016. Response of Biogeochemical Cycles and Ecosystem in the East China Sea to the Multi-stressors. in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Volume 124, pages 1-128 (February 2016).

From the IMBER endorsed MEcoPAM project

More info...

Journal of Marine Systems Volume 154

Jing Zhang, Tian Xiao, Daji Huang, Su Mei Liu and Jianguang Fang (Eds.), 2016. Changjiang (Yangtz River) Estuary and Adjacent Marine Environment. in Journal of Marine Systems, Volume 154, Part A, pages 1-130 (February 2016)

From the IMBER endorsed MEcoPAM project

More info...

DSR II 2013 Spring Bloom Processes & Ecosystem

Jing Zhang, Jilan Su, Ling Tong and Qisheng Tang (Eds.), 2013. Spring Bloom Processes and the Ecosystem: The Case Study of the Yellow Sea. in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Volume 97, pages 1-116 (1 December 2013).

From the IMBER endorsed MEcoPAM project

More info...


  • Zhuoyi Zhu, Ying Wu, Jing Zhang, Jinzhou Du, and Guoshen Zhang, 2014. Reconstruction of anthropogenic eutrophication in the region off the Changjiang Estuary and central Yellow Sea: From decades to centuries, Continental Shelf Research 72: 152-162. Article


  • Lingfeng Huang, Shiquan Lin, Yuan Xiong, Jiachang Lu and Linnan Wu. 2013. Progress in the study of the selective feeding of heterotrophic nanoflagellate. Acta Oceanologica Sinica (in Chinese) 35(2): 1-8. Article
  •  lan R. Jenkinson and Jun Sun. 2013. Drag increase and drag reduction found in phytoplankton and bacterial cultures in laminar flow: Are cell surfaces and EPS producing rheological thickening and a Lotus-leaf Effect? Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (In Press). doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.028. Article
  • Faming Li, Jingling Ren, Li Yan, Sumei Liu, Chenggang Liu, Feng Zhou and Jing Zhang. 2013. The biogeochemical behavior of dissolved aluminum in the southern Yellow Sea: influence of the spring phytoplankton bloom. Chinese Science Bulletin 58(2): 238-248. doi: 10.1007/s11434-012-5512-5. Article
  • Shiquan Lin, Lingfeng Huang, Zhisheng Zhu and Xiaoyan Jia. 2013. Changes in size and trophic structure of the nanoflagellate assemblage in response to a spring phytoplankton bloom in the central Yellow Sea. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography  (In Press). doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.017. Article
  • Min Liu, Yi Dong, Wuchang Zhang, Jun Sun, Feng Zhou, Chenggang Liu, Jingling Ren, Sshixiang Bao and Tian Xiao. 2013. Diversity of bacterial community during spring phytoplankton blooms in the central Yellow Sea. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 59(5): 324-332. doi: 10.1139/cjm-2012-0735. Article
  • Min Liu, Tian Xiao, Jun Sun, Hao Wei, Ying Wu, Yi Dong, Yuan Zhao and Wuchang Zhang. 2013. Bacterial community structures associated with a natural spring phytoplankton bloom in the Yellow Sea, China. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (In Press). doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.016.Article
  • Jun Sun, Yuanyuan Feng, Dan Wang, Shuquan Song, Yan Jiang, Changling Ding and Ying Wu. 2013. Bottom-up control of phytoplankton growth in spring blooms in Central Yellow Sea, China. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography  (In Press). doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.006. Article
  • Jun Sun, Yuanyuan Feng, Feng Zhou, Shuqun Song, Yan Jiang and Changlin Ding. 2013. Top-down control of spring surface phytoplankton blooms by microzooplankton in the Central Yellow Sea, China. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (In Press). doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.005. Article
  • Ying Yu, Wuchang Zhang, Meiping Feng, Haibo Li, Yuan Zhao and Tian Xiao. 2013. Spatiotemporal distribution patterns of planktonic ciliates in the world sea areas. Chinese Journal of Ecology (in Chinese) 32(4): 1045-1053. Article 
  • Ying Yu, Wuchang Zhang, Zengjie Jiang, Yuan Zhao, Meiping Feng, Haibo Li and Tian Xiao. 2013. Seasonal Variation of planktonic ciliates in sanggou Bay, Huanghai Sea. Acta Oceanologica Sinica (in Chinese) 35(3): 215-224. Article 
  • Ying Yu, Wuchang Zhang, Shiwei Wang and Tian Xiao. 2013. Abundance and biomass of planktonic ciliates in the sea area around Zhangzi Island, Northern Yellow Sea. Acta Ecologica Sinica 33(1): 45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.chnaes.2012.12.007. Article
  • Li Zhao, Yuan Zhao, Wuchang Zhang, Feng Zhou, Cuixia Zhang, Jingling Ren, Xiaobo Ni, Michel Denis and Tian Xiao. 2013. Picoplankton distribution in different water masses of the East China Sea in autumn and winter. Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology 31(2): 247-266. doi: 10.1007/s00343-013-2085-3.Article
  • Yuan Zhao, Li Zhao, Tian Xiao, Chenggang Liu, Jun Sun, Feng Zhou, Sumei Liu and Lingfeng Huang. 2013. Temporal variation of picoplankton in the spring bloom of Yellow Sea, China. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (In Press). doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.015. Article
  • Zhuoyi Zhu, Ying Wu, Jing Zhang, Thorsten Dittmar, Ying Li, Liang Shao, and Qian Ji, 2013. Can primary production contribute non-labile organic matter in the sea: Amino acid enantiomers along the coast south of the Changjiang Estuary in May, Journal of Marine Systems, 129, 343-349. Article
  • Zhuoyi Zhu, Jing Zhang, Ying Wu, Yingying Zhang, Jing Lin and Qian Ji. 2013. Early degradation rate particulate organic carbon and phytoplankton pigments under differenct dissolved oxygen level off the Changjiang (Yangtze) river estuary. Oceanologia et Limbologia Sinica (in Chinese) 44(1): 1-8. Article