College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University
Ocean Sciences in XMU
2017/9/27 473

Aiming at the frontier of marine biogeochemical science and national & local development needs, the College of Ocean and Earth Sciences (COE), Xiamen University (XMU) carries out marine scientific studies in both fundamental research and application. Being involved in a large number of national major research programs and key projects (e.g. the "973" National Basic Research Program, the State Oceanic Administration's Major Program-Global Climate Change and Air-sea Interaction, the SOA Ocean Public Welfare Program and the NSFC Major Research Plan, etc.) and having built several high level research and development platforms, not only has the college greatly promoted the country's marine science and technology strength, but also made important contributions to the social and economic development of China.

With 150-200 million CNY's annual approved research funding, the college staff have gained lots of major awards and achievements, such as the second prize of National Natural Science Award, the first place of the Ministry of Education Natural Science Award, 7 high-level papers published in Science , Nature and their sub journals, 2 national aquatic products certificated by the Ministry of Agriculture, the very first marine animal antibacterial peptide gene product safety certification of production and application in China, and more than 100 authorized invention patents and utility models patents.

Several high-level scientific research platforms and field experiment bases have been built and consistently developed: State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, State-Province Joint Engineering Laboratory of Marine Bioproducts and Technology, Key Laboratory of Underwater Acoustic Communication and Marine Information Technology Ministry of Education, XMU Research Vessel (SOL:~3600 tons), Dongshan Swire Marine Station, Mesocosm Facility for Ocean Acidification Impact Study, Joint Center for Ocean Remote Sensing, etc. It is worth mentioning that the XMU Research Vessel-Tan Kah Kee, officially launched on 15th April, 2017, carries dreams of all "XMUers", and will certainly carry forward, Mr. Tan Kah Kee (the great founder of XMU)'s spirit.


Case studies on Ocean Sciences in XMU

Case study 1: Microbial carbon pump in the ocean

Studies by Jiao et al., publised in Science, Nature Reviews Microbiology and Nature Climate Change, respectively since 2010.

Microbes play a key role in marine ecosystem and global change. Focusing on the marine carbon cycling, Nianzhi Jiao’s team probes into microcosmic ecological processes and macrocosmic environmental effects of marine microbes. By method innovation and large-scale field test, the project successfully identified the global pattern of AAPB (Aerobic Anoxygenic Phototrophic Bacteria, a typical microbial functional group) distribution, revealed the AAPB regulatory mechanisms and further investigated the reason why AAPB was not distributed as predicted according to theory previously. Inspired by a systematic study, Nianzhi Jiao’s team finally proposed, on this basis, a microbial carbon pump theory, in fact a new marine carbon storage mechanism.

Case study 2: Aerosols as a source of dissolved black carbon to the ocean

Hongyan Bao, Jutta Niggemann, Li Luo, Thorsten Dittmar & Shuh-Ji Kao, 2017. Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00437-3. 

Dissolved black carbon (DBC) is the largest known slow-cycling organic carbon pool in the world’s oceans. Atmospheric deposition could significantly contribute to the oceanic DBC pool, but respective information is lacking. Here we estimate that, during the dust outbreak season, the atmospheric dry deposition of water-soluble black carbon (WSBC) is ~ 40% of the riverine input to the China coastal seas. The molecular composition of atmospheric WSBC determined by ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry, reveals similar soil-derived sources as for riverine discharge. WSBC is significantly positively correlated with water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) in marine aerosols, and water-soluble black carbon contributes on average 2.8 ± 0.65% to the total WSOC. Based on this relationship, the global atmospheric deposition of DBC to the ocean is estimated to be 1.8 ± 0.83 Tg yr−1. Anticipated future changes in biomass burning and dust mobilization might increase these numbers, with consequences for regional ecosystems and global carbon reservoirs.

Case Study 3: Millennial-scale ocean dynamics controlled export productivity in the subtropical North Pacific

Dawei Li, Li-Wei Zheng, Samuel L. Jaccard, Tien-Hsi Fang, Adina Paytan, Xufeng Zheng, Yuan-Pin Chang, Shuh-Ji Kao*, 2017. Millennial scale ocean dynamics controlled export productivity in the subtropical North Pacific. Geology. Doi: 10.1130/G38981.1

The integrated effects of ocean-climate dynamics on export production in the North Pacific have remained elusive. We present a 91 k.y. export productivity (EP) record based on sedimentary reactive phosphorus from the western subtropical North Pacific. On a millennial time scale, EP decreased during Northern Hemisphere cold events when atmospheric dust loading was high, and increased during warm episodes. The inferred antiphase relation between dust and EP suggests that the supply of macronutrients to the sunlit surface ocean, modulated by the penetration depth of North Pacific Intermediate Water and not eolian Fe, exerted a major control on EP in the subtropical North Pacific. A compilation of global EP records suggests that eolian Fe most likely played a role in stimulating EP regionally only in the Subantarctic zone of the Southern Ocean. Over the past 91 k.y., during the cold-south–warm-north phase of the bipolar seesaw, the biological pump in both hemispheres was enhanced synchronously, yet by different drivers; atmospheric Fe input for the Subantarctic and subsurface macronutrient supply for the North Pacific, including the tropical and/or subtropical Pacific, and the Antarctic zone of the Southern Ocean.

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