Contrasting behaviors of 210Po, 210Pb and 234Th in the East China Sea during a severe red tide: Enhanced scavenging and promoted fractionation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Acta Oceanologica Sinica




School of Science / Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research




The Science Research Foundation of Third Institute of Oceanography

Ministry of Natural Resources under contract Nos 2017017 and 2019004

China Postdoctoral Science Foundation under contract No. 2021M693780

Foundation of Xiamen Institute of Marine Development under contract No. K201301

Science and Technology Plan Projects of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region under contract No. 2017AB30024


Zhong, Q., Li, L., Puigcorbé, V., Huang, D., Yu, T., & Du, J. (2022). Contrasting behaviors of 210Po, 210Pb and 234Th in the East China Sea during a severe red tide: Enhanced scavenging and promoted fractionation. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 41, 5-21.


210Po, 210Pb, and 234Th were determined in water columns of the East China Sea (ECS) to investigate their biogeochemical behaviors during a severe red tide event. Dissolved 210Po, 210Pb, and 234Th accounted for large fractions of the total phases. The abnormally high concentrations of dissolved 210Pb were observed. Partition behaviors of these radionuclides were influenced by particle content effect and particle composition based on distribution coefficient (Kd) vs. total suspended matter (TSM) content and Kd vs. ratios of particulate organic carbon and total suspended matter contents (POC/TSM content ratios). The peaks of mass specific activities of 210Po, 210Pb, and 234Th indicated that degraded particles could have an intensified enrichment ability for radionuclides compared with the surficial suspended matters. Fractionation factor of 210Po and 210Pb (FPo/Pb) ( > 1) and fractionation factor of 210Po and 234Th (FPo/Th) ( > 1) were much higher at algal blooming regions than that at non-blooming stations, indicating that algal blooms promoted the fractionation of 210Po against 210Pb and 234Th, and proving that 210Po exhibited a stronger affinity for biogenic particles than 210Pb and 234Th when POC content increased in the sea. POC/210Po, POC/210Pb and POC/234Th ratios (content/activity ratios) sharply decreased with depth in both algal bloom and non-bloom stations. The outbreak of algal bloom promoted the complexity of suspended particles and increased the variability of POC/tracer ratios (content/activity ratios) in the different depth of the shallow seas. More considerations should be taken to the difficulty of the selection of export interface and the suitable tracers when algal blooming occurs.



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