Δ13C, Δ15N and Corg/Ntotal as tracer for sources of carbon and nitrogen to Yangtze River intertidal zone

Huan Feng, Weiguo Zhang, Lizhong Yu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Yangtze River is one of the largest rivers in the world. Because of its social and economic values, the environmental status of the Yangtze River estuary has been of major public concern. Previous studies showed that environmental quality in the Yangtze River estuary is being degraded due to pollution and red tides. Urbanization and economic development in Shanghai have a direct impact on the Yangtze River estuary. Many areas in or adjacent to the intertidal zone are used for commercial harbors, iron and steel mills, and other industrial operations. Runoff and other discharges within the Yangtze River catchment provide additional sources of contamination to the Yangtze River estuary. In order to investigate the source of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) to the Yangtze River intertidal zone, surface sediment samples (0-5 cm in depth) were collected from 59 stations distributed in 26 different locations within the Yangtze River intertidal zone during 2004 and 2005, and analyzed for C, N, Δ13C and Δ15N. In this study, we found that total organic carbon ranged from 0.08%-1.62%, total nitrogen from 0.02%-0.13%, Δ13C from-26.83‰--19.14‰, and Δ15N from 1.14‰-6.05‰. The study shows that characteristics of carbon and nitrogen distributions in Yangtze River estuary are mainly the consequence of the mixing of natural terrestrial, marine and saltmarsh sources due to hydrodynamic and sediment dynamic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRiver Deltas
Subtitle of host publicationTypes, Structures and Ecology
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781617287565
StatePublished - 2011


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