Tropical coastal ecosystems are among the most biodiverse areas on Earth.
Tropical coastal ecosystems are among the most biodiverse areas on Earth. And they’re also on the front lines of effects caused by human activity. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important, especially as human populations increase, to manage the impacts of runoff and wastewater that flow into the sea.
“Tropical coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs, are oligotrophic, meaning they are located in nutrient-poor waters and have therefore adapted to these conditions,” said Madeline Berger, a researcher at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis(link is external) (NCEAS). “An increased influx of nutrients can therefore disrupt ecosystem functioning.”
In a paper(link is external) that appears in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management, lead author Berger and her colleagues tackle the issue of nutrient pollution through a case study in coastal Central America. The result? Agricultural operations are responsible for the vast majority of nitrogen pollution that flows into the Mesoamerican Reef Region. Knowing where the pollution comes from, the researchers say, will help managers tailor solutions for mitigation.
Read more at: University of California - Santa Barbara
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