Asia GEOTRACES Workshop: 

Sources/sinks and internal cycling of mercury and other
TEIs in the Northwest Pacific Ocean

Qingdao, Shandong, China

December 8-10, 2019

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About the workshop

GEOTRACES project covers global oceans, including the Northwestern Pacific Ocean (NWPO). However, the knowledge on regional distributions and internal cycling of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) in seawaters in the NWPO is still limited.

For example, mercury (Hg) cycling in the oceans has drawn extensive public concerns because of the production of methylmercury (MeHg) in the marine environments. The produced MeHg can then be biomagnified via food chain, bioaccumulated to high concentrations in organisms at high trophic levels and pose great threat to human health. Some efforts have been made on investigating the distribution and cycling of Hg in the Pacific Ocean. East Asia is the largest source region for Hg. Large amounts of Hg were discharged into the ocean via riverine input and atmospheric deposition, highlighting the importance of this region in Hg studies. However, there is lack of studies on the distribution and cycling of Hg in the NWPO. Few mercury data following the GEOTRACES protocols were reported in this region and controlling processes and factors for Hg cycling in the NWPO are largely unknown.

As major GEOTRACES ocean interfaces, exchange between atmosphere and surface water, sediments and the overlying water column significantly influence the net sources and sinks for dissolved TEIs in seawater, as well as the internal cycling of TEIs in the NWPO. However, little is known about net supplies of TEIs from sediments and atmosphere as well as the key processes and key areas for the supplies in the NWPO. The marginal seas in the NWPO, such as Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, East China Sea, and South China Sea, receive significant amount of lithogenic and anthropogenic substances from fluvial input and submarine groundwater discharge. These marginal seas are also important source areas that supply trace elements to the NWPO, which can highly influence TEIs cycling in open ocean. The major transport processes and fluxes for TEIs in each individual marginal sea remain to be explored. The major western boundary current of the NWPO, the Kuroshio, flows exactly through the region between the marginal seas and the NWPO, passing by the eastern ends of Philippine and Taiwan and mixed with the seawater originated from the East and South China Seas, then going northeastern direction to form the Kuroshio extension. The dynamic Kuroshio system not only links the NWPO and its marginal sea but also indicates the necessity for regional collaboration to fully understanding TEIs cycling in the oceanic region.

An Asia GEOTRACES Workshop, organized by Ocean University of China, will be held in Qingdao on December 8-10, 2019. In this workshop, we plan to invite GEOTRACES scientists in Asia as well as other regions to evaluate a full picture of the current status of the studies on the major sources/sinks and internal cycling processes of TEIs in seawater (emphasized on mercury) in the NWPO, and to generate a future regional collaboration and action plan for Asia GEOTRACES.


1) Mercury in the NWPO (Part I)

  • Contributions of Asia marginal seas to mercury in the Pacific Ocean
  • Mercury speciation and cycling in the NWPO
  • Mercury international inter-calibration and strengthening the capability of marine Hg analysis and study in the Asia
  • Discussion on the Part II: Mercury international inter-calibration during the testing cruise via "Dongfanghong III".

2) TEls fluxes and processes at ocean interfaces

  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Continental run-off (e.g. fluvial input and submarine groundwater discharge)
  • Interaction between marginal seas and Kuroshio water
  • Sediment-water boundary


Jingling Ren, Yanbin Li, Qian Liu, Jing Zhang, Meixun Zhao

Venue and Accommodation

The workshop will be held in Badaguan Hotel (Shanhaiguan Road 19, Qingdao, Shandong). The workshop organizer has contracted a special rate with the Badaguan Hotel (380 RMB per night (tax included)) and can book the rooms for the attendees if needed (please fill out the pre-registration form and send it to Ms. Yan Wang ( before November 15, 2019).  

Abstract Submission and Pre-registration

There is no registration fee for this workshop. Deadline for the pre-registration and abstract submission is November 15, 2019 (please send the filled pre-registration form and the abstract to Ms. Yan Wang ( before the deadline.

Workshop Agenda

December 8, Registration
December 9, Sessions and Discussion
December 10, Sessions and Discussion


Dr. Yanbin Li

Dr. Qian Liu

Ms. Yan Wang

This workshop is supported by the Ocean University of China.                                                   

The 2019 GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) meeting was held from 9th to 11th September at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, hosted by Andrew Bowie and Zanna Chase. During the meeting, the SSC members reviewed the progress in the programme implementation and defined the future programme agenda. The major topics for discussion were the review of the new on-line portal to register data to be included in future GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Products (IDP) and the timeline for the release of the forthcoming IDP2021. Both the portal and the timeline will be presented to the GEOTRACES community very soon!

The SSC meeting was preceded by a 2-day workshop on exploring GEOTRACES and other environmental data with Ocean Data View (ODV) given by Reiner Schlitzer (AWI, Bremerhaven) and attended by 40 participants. A workshop on Southern Ocean Biogeochemistry followed the SSC meeting from 12th to 13th of September. The workshop was aimed at briging together national and international scientists as well as local students and researchers in biogeochemical oceanography, modelling and paleoceanography focused on the Southern Ocean’s response to climate change. During the workshop the development of collaborative projects including GEOTRACES process studies was also discussed. The programme of the workshop is available here.

Thank you to the meeting hosts Andrew Bowie and Zanna Chase for their wonderful hospitality, to Phil Boyd for his help in organising the Southern Ocean workshop and, to Scott Meyerink for all his assitance during all these events.  We also gratefully acknowledge funding from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, the Antarctic Gateway Partnership and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre.


2019 SSC rl  IMG 6519 low  2019 ODV recad Reiner 

Pictures: (left) 2019 GEOTRACES SSC members, click here to download the picture; (center) Participants at the ODV Workshop at IMAS, University of Tasmania; (right) Reiner Schlitzer teaching at the ODV Workshop at IMAS, University of Tasmania. 

Following endorsement at the recent Scientific Steering Committee meeting in Hobart (Australia), GEOTRACES has released a Statement of Values and Behaviours which reflects our common understanding of respectful values, acceptable behaviour, and cooperative interaction as an international scientific programme.

The GEOTRACES Statement of Values and Behavious is available to download here.

Statement of Values

An extremely useful resource for nations developing trace metal-clean sampling systems is now available on the GEOTRACES web site!

Based on 11 years of experience, Greg Cutter, GEOTRACES Standards and Intercalibration past co-chair, has summarised the recommendations that nations developing a trace metal-clean sample system need to consider for successful sampling.

The document available here includes essential information as a description of the existing sampling systems, provide useful advise on the purchase of the sampling bottles, guide in the clean lab design, etc. In other words a valuable source for those willing to do GEOTRACES research.

For any questions please contact: Greg Cutter, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, USA;

P1090602 l  P1090745 l   

The Report from the Joint GEOTRACES-PAGES workshop on trace element and isotope proxies in paleoceanography held in Aix-Marseille, France, on 3-5 December 2018 is now published on the Past Global Changes Magazine (May 2019).

Please download and read the report here.

PAGES Magazine

Trace element and isotope proxies in paleoceanography: Starting a new synergic effort around marine geochemical proxies
Past Global Changes Magazine, vol. 27(1), 35, 2019



The first GEOTRACES-China section cruise along the GEOTRACES transect GP09 in the western North Pacific Ocean (wNP) will depart from Xiamen, China, on 25 April 2019 and will return port on 10 June 2019. On board the R/V “TAN KAH KEE” (Jia-Geng), there will be 33 Chinese researchers from Xiamen University, Second Institute of Oceanography (Ministry of Natural Resources), Ocean University of China and Peking University amongst others, as well as 3 researchers from GEOMAR (Germany), University of Western Ontario (Canada) and University of Maine (USA). The major objectives of the cruise are: (1) To investigate the horizontal and vertical distribution of trace elements and their isotopes (e.g., Fe, Cu, Ni, REEs, etc) in the wNP; (2) To identify the source/sink and internal cycle of trace elements/micro-nutrients in the wNP and their coupling with macro-nutrients; and (3) To examine the relation of trace element cycling in the wNP to the oceanic carbon cycle and global environmental and climatic change.

Cruise chief scientists: Yihua Cai and Kuanbo Zhou (Xiamen University)
GEOTRACES researchers: Zhimian Cao, Minhan Dai (Xiamen University) and Liping Zhou (Peking University)

Follow the cruise at: (website will be released on 25 April 2019)

Figure: Tentative KK1903 (GP09) cruise track

 Data Product (IDP2017)


 Data Assembly Centre (GDAC)


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