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Impacts of nutrient enrichment on coral reefs: new perspectives and implications for coastal management and reef survival

Impacts of nutrient enrichment on coral reefs: new perspectives and implications for coastal management and reef survival
Impacts of nutrient enrichment on coral reefs: new perspectives and implications for coastal management and reef survival
Anthropogenic nutrient enrichment is often associated with coral reef decline. Consequently, there is a large consent that increased nutrient influxes in reef waters have negative longterm consequences for corals. However, the mechanisms by which dissolved inorganic nutrients can disturb corals and their symbiotic algae are subject to controversial debate. Herein, we discuss recent studies that demonstrate how nutrient enrichment affects the heat and light stress tolerance of corals and their bleaching susceptibility. We integrate direct and indirect effects of nutrient enrichment on corals in a model that explains why healthy coral reefs can exist over a rather broad range of natural nutrient environments at the lower end of the concentration scale and that anthropogenic nutrient enrichment can disturb the finely balanced processes via multiple pathways. We conceptualise that corals can suffer from secondary negative nutrient effects due to the alteration of their natural nutrient environment by increased phytoplankton loads. In this context, we suggest that phytoplankton represents a likely vector that can translate nutrients effects, induced for instance by coastal run-off, into nutrient stress on coral reefs in considerable distance to the site of primary nutrient enrichment. The presented synthesis of the literature suggests that the effects of nutrient enrichment and eutrophication beyond certain thresholds are negative for the physiological performance of the coral individual and for ecosystem functioning. Hence, the immediate implementation of knowledge-based nutrient management strategies is crucial for coral reef survival.
1877-3435
82-93
D’Angelo, Cecilia
0d35b03b-684d-43aa-a57a-87212ab07ee1
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7
D’Angelo, Cecilia
0d35b03b-684d-43aa-a57a-87212ab07ee1
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7

D’Angelo, Cecilia and Wiedenmann, Jörg (2014) Impacts of nutrient enrichment on coral reefs: new perspectives and implications for coastal management and reef survival. [in special issue: Environmental Change Issues] Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 7, 82-93. (doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2013.11.029).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Anthropogenic nutrient enrichment is often associated with coral reef decline. Consequently, there is a large consent that increased nutrient influxes in reef waters have negative longterm consequences for corals. However, the mechanisms by which dissolved inorganic nutrients can disturb corals and their symbiotic algae are subject to controversial debate. Herein, we discuss recent studies that demonstrate how nutrient enrichment affects the heat and light stress tolerance of corals and their bleaching susceptibility. We integrate direct and indirect effects of nutrient enrichment on corals in a model that explains why healthy coral reefs can exist over a rather broad range of natural nutrient environments at the lower end of the concentration scale and that anthropogenic nutrient enrichment can disturb the finely balanced processes via multiple pathways. We conceptualise that corals can suffer from secondary negative nutrient effects due to the alteration of their natural nutrient environment by increased phytoplankton loads. In this context, we suggest that phytoplankton represents a likely vector that can translate nutrients effects, induced for instance by coastal run-off, into nutrient stress on coral reefs in considerable distance to the site of primary nutrient enrichment. The presented synthesis of the literature suggests that the effects of nutrient enrichment and eutrophication beyond certain thresholds are negative for the physiological performance of the coral individual and for ecosystem functioning. Hence, the immediate implementation of knowledge-based nutrient management strategies is crucial for coral reef survival.

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Published date: April 2014
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 362299
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362299
ISSN: 1877-3435
PURE UUID: bf05cf1b-3fd1-4e8d-bf80-d5b3885e0aef
ORCID for Jörg Wiedenmann: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2128-2943

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Date deposited: 19 Feb 2014 14:12
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:44

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