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MEGAPOL: MEGAPOL: Megacity's fingerprint in Chinese marginal seas: Investigation of pollutant fingerprints and dispersal; lead, project: Coordination (SP1), Investigations of pollutant distributions and hydrodynamics in the South China Sea (SP2)

The consortium Megacity’s fingerprint in Chinese southern marginal seas: Investigation of pollutant fingerprints and dispersal aims to study the marine environmental conditions in an area spanning from the northern shelf in proximity to Pearl River of the South China Sea towards the deep sea, to enhance our understanding of the effects of growing anthropogenic pressure in a highly dynamic marine ecosystem governed by natural variability ranging on space scales from small to mesoscale and time from daily to decadal. The area is an excellent natural laboratory to study the exchange processes between the land and the ocean (Pearl River), the variability of physical forcing (monsoon, circulation), the drastically increasing anthropogenic stress (nutrients/eutrophication, organic contaminants, microplastic, antibiotics, mercury) following the development of a Megacity within the area Guangzhou-Hong Kong. We are aiming to improving our understanding of the complex interactions between land, the coastal ocean and the open ocean and their resulting alterations due to effects of climate variability and anthropogenic stressors in a highly sensitive ecosystem. Our results will help to quantify the marine N, P, C cycles, allow the quantification and distribution of anthropogenic contamination as well as the degree of time-space variability of natural oceanic processes. This consortiums with 4 German and 5 Chinese partners work is closely linked to the complementary twin project Megacity’s fingerprint in Chinese eastern marginal seas: Investigation of pollutant fingerprints and dispersal coordinated by Dr. Pohlmann (Univ. HH), regionally focussed on Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and the Yangtse River. Samples will be gained and exchanged between the twin projects aiming at an overview of the regional distribution of several substances within the partitions water, suspended matter and sediment. Intercalibration exercises regarding UV-filters and joint modelling efforts are part of the activities, going hand in hand with joint meetings, cruises and publications for participants of both consortia. Our consortium project contributes to the BMBF program marine research (Meeresforschung, PTJ) and is rooted in the WTZ-China initiative, dating back to 1986. Our activities are a continuation of the bilateral projects PECAI and BEIBU, both relevant to the programs Forschung für die Nachhaltigkeit (FONA) and System Erde.


  • Dellwig, O., A. Köhler, F. Kurzweil, M. Schönke, A. Wegwerth, S. Krüger, R. Mars, S. Plewe, I. Schuffenhauer, R. Zhang, H. C. Frazão, J. J. Waniek and H. W. Arz (2023). Behaviors of redox-sensitive tungsten and molybdenum in the northern South China Sea: From the Pearl River to the continental slope. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 292: 108485, doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2023.108485
  • Mi, L., Z. Xie, W. Xu, J. J. Waniek, T. Pohlmann and W. Mi (2023). Air-sea exchange and atmospheric deposition of phthalate esters in the South China Sea. Environ. Sci. Technol. 57: 11195-11205, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c09426
  • Mi, L., Z. Xie, L. Zhang, J. J. Waniek, T. Pohlmann, W. Mi and W. Xu (2023). Organophosphate esters in air and seawater of the South China Sea: Spatial distribution, transport, and air-sea exchange. Environ. Health 1: 191-202, doi: 10.1021/envhealth.3c00059
  • Chen, Y., W. Sui, J. Wang, D. He, L. Dong, J. J. Waniek and F. Wang (2023). Refractory humic-like dissolved organic matter fuels microbial communities in deep energy-limiting marine sediments. Sci. China Earth Sci. 66: 1738-1756, doi: 10.1007/s11430-022-1123-y
  • Xie, R., J. Qi, C. Shi, P. Zhang, R. Wu, J. Li and J. J. Waniek (2023). Changes of dissolved organic matter following salinity invasion in different seasons in a nitrogen rich tidal reach. Sci. Total Environ. 880: 163251, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.163251
  • Wu, J., Z. Zhu, J. J. Waniek, M. Niu, Y. Wang, Z. Zhang, M. Zhou and R. Zhang (2023). The biogeography and co-occurrence network patterns of bacteria and microeukaryotes in the estuarine and coastal waters. Mar. Environ. Res. 184: 105873, doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2023.105873
  • Reineccius, J., M. Schönke and J. J. Waniek (2023). Abiotic long-term simulation of microplastic weathering pathways under different aqueous conditions. Environ. Sci. Technol. 57: 963-975, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c05746
  • Zhou, Q., C. Tu, Y. Liu, Y. Li, H. Zhang, A. Vogts, S. Plewe, X. Pan, Y. Luo and J. J. Waniek (2022). Biofilm enhances the copper (II) adsorption on microplastic surfaces in coastal seawater: Simultaneous evidence from visualization and quantification. Sci. Total Environ. 853: 158217, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.158217
  • Chen, K., M. Zhou, Y. Zhong, J. J. Waniek, C. Shan and Z. Zhang (2022). Effects of mixing and stratification on the vertical distribution and size spectrum of zooplankton on the shelf and slope of the northern South China Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 9: 870021, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2022.870021
  • Waniek, Joanna J., Helena C. Frazão, Ingo Schuffenhauer, Robert Mars (2021): Physical oceanography during the cruise Hai Yang Di Zhi Shi Hao in South China Sea in September 2018. PANGAEA,, doi: 10.1594/PANGAEA.936352
  • Waniek, Joanna J., Helena C. Frazão, Ralf D. Prien, Siegfriend Krüger, Ingo Schuffenhauer, Robert Mars (2021): Physical oceanography during the cruise SO269 in South China Sea in August/September 2019. PANGAEA,, doi: 10.1594/PANGAEA.938934
  • Waniek, Joanna J., Helena C. Frazão, Ralf D. Prien, (2021): Underway physical oceanography and meteorological measurements during the SO269 cruise in South China Sea in August 2019. PANGAEA,, doi: 10.1594/PANGAEA.939230
  • Waniek, Joanna J., Helena C. Frazão, Ralf D. Prien, Siegfried Krüger, Ingo Schuffenhauer, Robert Mars, (2021): Physical oceanography (p-CTD) during the cruise SO269 in South China Sea in August/September 2019. PANGAEA,, "doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.939183"
  • Waniek, Joanna J., Detlef Schulz-Bull, Helena C. Frazão, Birgit Sadkowiak, Lars Kreuzer, Jenny Jeschek, Madleen Dierken, (2022): Biological and chemical water properties measured in water bottle samples during the cruise SO269 in South China Sea in August/September 2019. PANGAEA,, "doi:10.1594/PANGAEA/940104"
  • Kuss, J., H. C. Frazão, D. E. Schulz-Bull, Y. Zhong, Y. Gao and J. J. Waniek (2021). The impact of typhoon “Mangkhut” on surface water nutrient and chlorophyll inventories of the South China Sea in September 2018. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosciences 126: e2021JG006546, doi: 10.1029/2021JG006546
  • Zhou, Q., C. Tu, J. Yang, C. Fu, Y. Li and J. J. Waniek (2021). Trapping of microplastics in halocline and turbidity layers of the semi-enclosed Baltic Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 8: 761566, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.761566
  • Deich, C., M. Kanwischer, R. Zhang and J. J. Waniek (2023). Natural and synthetic estrogenic compounds in the Pearl River Estuary and northern shelf of the South China Sea. Oceanologia 65: 30-43, doi: 10.1016/j.oceano.2021.08.001
  • Tu, C., Y. Liu, L. Li, Y. Li, A. Vogts, Y. Luo and J. J. Waniek (2021). Structural and functional characteristics of microplastic associated biofilms in response to temporal dynamics and polymer types. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 107: 633-639, doi: 10.1007/s00128-021-03333-1
  • Zhong, Y., M. Zhou, J. J. Waniek, L. Zhou and Z. Zhang (2021). Seasonal variation of the surface Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea evidenced by satellite geostrophic streamlines. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 51: 2705-2718, doi: 10.1175/jpo-d-20-0242.1
  • Yu, S., F. Chen, X. Jing, C. Chen, C. Zhuang, Q. Li, Y. Zhou, Z. Xia, H. Gan, K. Fisch and J. J. Waniek (2021). Increasing terrigenous pollen input in the late Holocene: Indications of intensive human activity and accelerated delta plain progradation. Mar. Geol. 439: 106547, doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2021.106547
  • Reineccius, J., J. Bresien and J. J. Waniek (2021). Separation of microplastics from mass-limited samples by an effective adsorption technique. Sci. Total Environ. 788: 147881, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147881
  • Deich, C., H. C. Frazão, J.-S. Appelt, W. Li, T. Pohlmann and J. J. Waniek (2021). Occurrence and distribution of estrogenic substances in the northern South China Sea. Sci. Total Environ. 770: 145239, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145239
  • Joanna J. Waniek, Detlef E. Schulz-Bull, Birgit Gaye, Ralf Ebinghaus, Friederike Kunz, Thomas Pohlmann, Kay-Christian Emeis (eds): Megacity’s fingerprint in Chinese marginal seas, Meereswiss. Ber., Warnemünde, 116 (2021), 1-62,doi:10.12754/msr-2021-0116
  • Fisch, K., R. Zhang, M. Zhou, D. E. Schulz-Bull and J. J. Waniek (2021). PPCPs - A human and veterinary fingerprint in the Pearl River delta and northern south China sea. Emerging Contaminants 7: 10-21, doi: 10.1016/j.emcon.2020.11.006
  • Tu, C., T. Chen, Q. Zhou, Y. Liu, J. Wei, J. J. Waniek and Y. Luo (2020). Biofilm formation and its influences on the properties of microplastics as affected by exposure time and depth in the seawater. Sci. Total Environ. 734: 139237, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139237
  • Zhou, Q., H. Zhang, J. J. Waniek and Y. Luo (2020). The distribution and characteristics of microplastics in coastal beaches and mangrove wetlands. In: Microplastics in terrestrial environments - Emerging contaminants and major challenges. Ed. by D. He and Y. Luo. Cham: Springer (The handbook of environmental chemistry ; 95): 77-92, doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-56271-7
  • Zhou, Q., C. Tu, C. Fu, Y. Li, H. Zhang, K. Xiong, X. Zhao, L. Li, J. J. Waniek and Y. Luo (2020). Characteristics and distribution of microplastics in the coastal mangrove sediments of China. Sci. Total Environ. 703: 134807, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134807
  • Deich, C., M. Kanwischer, M. Jähne and J. J. Waniek (2020). Patterns of estrogenic activity in the Baltic Sea. Chemosphere 240: 124870, doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.124870
  • Kaiser, D., D. E. Schulz-Bull and J. J. Waniek (2018). Polycyclic and organochlorine hydrocarbons in sediments of the northern South China Sea. Mar. Poll. Bull. 137: 668-676, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.10.039
  • Fisch, K., B. Li, Q. Liang, Y. Wang, Y. Ni, K. Liang, M. Zhoud, J. J. Waniek and D. E. Schulz-Bull (2017). Occurrence of the two endocrine disruptors octocrylene and nonylphenoxyacetic acid in four Chinese aquatic systems. J. Aquat. Poll. Toxicol. 1: 19,
  • Hettwer, K., M. Jähne, K. Frost, M. Giersberg, G. Kunze, M. Trimborn, M. Reif, J. Türk, L. Gehrmann, F. Dardenne, F. De Croock, M. Abraham, A. Schoop, J. J. Waniek, T. Bucher, E. Simon, E. Vermeirssen, A. Werner, K. Hellauer, U. Wallentits, J. E. Drewes, D. Dietzmann, E. Routledge, N. Beresford, T. Zietek, M. Siebler, A. Simon, H. Bielak, H. Hollert, Y. Müller, M. Harff, S. Schiwy, K. Simon and S. Uhlig (2018). Validation of Arxula Yeast Estrogen Screen assay for detection of estrogenic activity in water samples: Results of an international interlaboratory study. Sci. Total Environ. 621: 612-625, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.211
  • Fisch, K., J. J. Waniek, M. Zhou, Z. Xia and D. E. Schulz-Bull (2017). Antibiotics in three Chinese coastal systems: Huangpu River, East China Sea, Pearl River Estuary. J. Aquat. Poll. Toxicol. 1: 13,