Navigation Links
Fertilizers -- a growing threat to sea life
Date:10/21/2008

A rise in carbon emissions is not the only threat to the planet. Changes to the nitrogen cycle, caused in large part by the widespread use of fertilizers, are also damaging both water quality and aquatic life. These concerns are highlighted by Professor Grace Brush, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, in her historical review (1) of landscape changes around Chesapeake Bay, a large estuary on the Atlantic coast of the USA. Her findings are published online this week in Springer's journal Estuaries and Coasts.

Professor Brush studied the organisms and materials preserved in sediments in Chesapeake Bay spanning 1000 to 14,000 years, alongside available historical records covering the past 300 years, to trace the history of changes to nitrogen loading in the estuary. She highlights how population growth, agricultural expansion, and urbanization have released nitrogen from the land and moved it to Chesapeake Bay, where it has accumulated and degraded both the natural wildlife and water quality.

The combination of the increasing use of fertilizers, deforestation and the draining of wetlands and floodplains to provide more land for crops, has led to an imbalance in the nitrogen cycle, in particular reduced opportunities for the natural removal of nitrogen. As a result, there is an excess of nitrogen in the estuary, also known as eutrophication. This in turn has led to the deterioration of the local ecosystem through reduced concentrations of oxygen in the bay, affecting both the water quality and the fish populations.

Providing food for an increasing population is the main reason for these changes, according to Professor Brush. Although the estuary supplied an abundance of fish species, humans also need plant-based food products in their diets, hence the increase in grasslands and use of fertilizers. She adds that aquatic deterioration is not unique to Chesapeake but a global phenomenon. Marine "dead zones" with low oxygen and/or toxic algae, caused primarily by the run-off of fertilizers from the land, as well as a greater reliance on fossil fuel, are on the increase.

Professor Brush concludes her review by looking at the likely implications of this imbalanced nitrogen cycle on future ecosystems as well as ways to improve water quality. She recommends multiple processes to reduce nitrogen accumulation, both natural and engineered, and notes that ultimately the decision to proceed will come down to politics.

Brush comments, "The future of the Chesapeake and coastal regions in general will depend very much on the recognition of the importance of nitrogen removal for goals other than restoring the fishery, how successful the various tools for nitrogen removal are, and the willingness of the public to pay for the implementation of those tools that can successfully achieve multiple goals."


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study reveals that nitrogen fertilizers deplete soil organic carbon
2. Inmates conduct ecological research on slow-growing mosses
3. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on growing role of molecular diagnostics
4. Green coffee-growing practices buffer climate-change impacts
5. Growing a garden of future environmental leaders
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Giant grass offers clues to growing corn in cooler climes, researchers report
8. Growing use of nanomaterials spurs research to investigate possible downsides
9. Establishing faster-growing, durable football fields
10. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on growing use of cell-based assays
11. A tall story: New research adds to growing body of knowledge of genetics of height
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/3/2016)... Das DOTM (Department ... hat ein 44 Millionen $-Projekt ... einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an Decatur ... Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale Anbieter ... aber Decatur wurde als konformste und innovativste ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... NEW YORK , June 2, 2016   The ... (Weather), is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which ... advertising, by being able to ask questions via voice or ... Marketers have long ... with the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 ... in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global ... a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics ... Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the ... billion by 2021, on account of growing security concerns ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016 Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation (BPC), ... to announce the addition of its newest plasma collection ... Nebraska . The 15,200 square foot state-of-the-art facility ... 2016 and brings the total number of BPC,s plasma ... Carlisle , BPC,s Chief Executive Officer said "We are ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... DIEGO and BEIJING , ... a leading commercial provider of genomic services and solutions ... announced today that it has completed a USD $75 ... Merchants Bank Co., Ltd.,s CMB International Capital Management ( ... Innovation Investment Management Co., Ltd. ("SDIC Innovation") and Shanghai ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... SSCI, the established leader in ... implications of the latest FDA guidance on pharmaceutical cocrystals as drug substance . ... MA. , The event follows the successful November 15th event that took ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... With growth rates averaging more than ... years and look forward to continuing their expansion in their new office space. The ... has been traditionally favoured by the creative industries, so Random42 Scientific Communication will fit ...
Breaking Biology Technology: