Beyond Algal Blooms, Oxygen Deficits and Fish Kills: Chronic, Long-Term Impacts of Nutrient Pollution on Aquatic Ecosystems

  • JoAnn M. Burkholder


Despite advances in sewage treatment in some industrialized nations during the late 20th century, despite declines in agricultural fertilizer use in some geographic regions, and despite modest improvements in environmental education in localized areas, the exponential, global increase in human population growth has increased nutrient loadings to aquatic ecosystems(Figures1, 2)(Vitousek et al. 1997; Howarth et al. 1996; Howarth 2000; Caraco 1995). These increases have been greatest in estuarine and coastal marine areas where population growth has been highest, and where nearly two-thirds of the people of the world now reside (Howarth 2000; Miller 2000). Surface waters across the earth are now sustaining impacts from anthropogenic or human-derived nutrient over-enrichment; even the open oceans are no longer sufficiently isolated to avoid nutrient pollution from atmospheric deposition of nitrogen contributed by automobiles, fertilizers, concentrated animal feed operations, and other sources (Vitousek et al. 1997; Howarth 2000; Mallin 2000).


Algal Bloom Nutrient Enrichment Marine Ecology Progress Series Submerse Aquatic Vegetation Nutrient Pollution 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • JoAnn M. Burkholder
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Applied Aquatic EcologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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