Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 4, pp 3297–3311 | Cite as

Assessment of the trophic status of four coastal lagoons and one estuarine delta, eastern Brazil

  • Luiz Carlos Cotovicz Junior
  • Nilva Brandini
  • Bastiaan Adriaan Knoppers
  • Byanka Damian Mizerkowski
  • José Mauro Sterza
  • Alvaro Ramon Coelho Ovalle
  • Paulo Ricardo Petter Medeiros


Anthropogenic eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems continues to be one of the major environmental issues worldwide and also of Brazil. Over the last five decades, several approaches have been proposed to discern the trophic state and the natural and cultural processes involved in eutrophication, including the multi-parameter Assessment of Estuarine Trophic Status (ASSETS) index model. This study applies ASSETS to four Brazilian lagoons (Mundaú, Manguaba, Guarapina, and Piratininga) and one estuarine delta (Paraíba do Sul River), set along the eastern Brazilian coast. The model combines three indices based on the pressure–state–response (PSR) approach to rank the trophic status and forecast the potential eutrophication of a system, to which a final ASSETS grade is established. The lagoons were classified as being eutrophic and highly susceptible to eutrophication, due primarily to their longer residence times but also their high nutrient input index. ASSETS classified the estuary of the Paraíba do Sul river with a low to moderate trophic state (e.g., largely mesotrophic) and low susceptibility to eutrophication. Its nutrient input index was high, but the natural high dilution and flushing potential driven by river flow mitigated the susceptibility to eutrophication. Eutrophication forecasting provided more favorable trends for the Mundaú and Manguaba lagoons and the Paraíba do Sul estuary, in view of the larger investments in wastewater treatment and remediation plans. The final ASSETS ranking system established the lagoons of Mundaú as “moderate,” Manguaba as “bad,” Guarapina as “poor,” and Piratininga as “bad,” whereas the Paraíba do Sul River Estuary was “good.”


Trophic state Eutrophication ASSETS model Estuaries Eastern Brazil 



The authors thank all the students involved in the acquisition of samples and laboratory assistance. Manoel Messias dos Santos of UFAL performed the nutrient analyses for Mundaú–Manguaba and Wilson Machado (UFF) provided valuable criticism and suggestions. L.C. Cotovicz Junior is a Ph.D. Scholar of CNPq and N. Brandini a Post-Doc from CAPES. B. Knoppers is a Senior Researcher from CNPq (Proc. Nr. 301572/2010-0). Funding was obtained from CNPq (POLCAMAR-Project proc. nr. 590002/2005-8 and INCT-TMOcean proc. no. 573601/2008-9). The authors also thank Suzanne B. Bricker and João G. Ferreira for their help in understanding and application of ASSETS. We are highly grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their time consuming input and valuable remarks.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luiz Carlos Cotovicz Junior
    • 1
  • Nilva Brandini
    • 1
  • Bastiaan Adriaan Knoppers
    • 1
  • Byanka Damian Mizerkowski
    • 2
  • José Mauro Sterza
    • 3
  • Alvaro Ramon Coelho Ovalle
    • 3
  • Paulo Ricardo Petter Medeiros
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Geoquímica, Instituto de QuímicaUniversidade Federal Fluminense (UFF)NiteróiBrazil
  2. 2.Centro de Estudos do Mar (CEM)Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR)Pontal do SulBrazil
  3. 3.Centro de Biociências e BiotecnologiaUniversidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense (UENF)Campo dos GoytacazesBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Geografia e Meio Ambiente, Centro de Ciências Exatas e NaturaisUniversidade Federal de Alagoas (UFAL)MaceióBrazil

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