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Nutrient Enrichment and Estuarine Health

  • Rezneat M. Darnell
  • Thomas M. Soniat
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Science and Society book series (CISS)

Abstract

Ecosystem health may be defined in terms of system norms or in terms of human utility. It is here defined as that state in which the components and processes remain well within specified limits of system integrity selected to assure that there is no diminution in the capacity of the system to render its basic services to society throughout the indefinite future. Knowledge of nutrient enrichment in freshwater systems is reviewed as a point of departure for understanding the response of estuaries to enrichment. Mixed and stratified estuaries respond in somewhat different fashions. Major changes associated with enrichment are changes in species succession and oxygen depletion in areas of organic accumulation, low mixing, and poor flushing. If of temporary and local occurrence, these symptoms are reversible and of minor importance. If of chronic nature or of widespread occurrence, they could lead to irreversible loss of species and genetic stocks. Measures of ecosystem health are discussed, and pertinent management recommendations are put forth. Of especial importance are the needs to establish local species reserves, to manage for total system integrity, and to develop better lines of communication between scientists and managers.

Keywords

Water Column Nutrient Enrichment Ecosystem Health Estuarine System Oxygen Depletion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Humana Press Inc. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rezneat M. Darnell
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Soniat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OceanographyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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