Eutrophication of Estuarine Environments Essay

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Eutrophication of Estuarine Environments Summary The cause of eutrophication in estuarine environments is the over enrichment of the nutrients Phosphorus and Nitrogen, combined with other lesser contributing factors such as temperature and light availability. This significant increase in nutrient levels leads to rapid and extensive plant growth such as cyanobacteria, algae. The result of which is a relatively large scale outbreak that is physically visible and effects all life forms depending on the body of water. Sources of the nutrient spikes are attributed to human activities such as agriculture and industrial waste, particularly from coastal areas. This semi-natural disaster appears to have few solutions other than long term monitoring and managing nutrient outputs from surrounding areas. Though the solutions are few and undefined they include possibilities such as: the cycling of nutrients by diatoms, model synthesis to predict blooms, biomanipulation and long term monitoring. Introduction Eutrophication is the process occurring in bodies of still and slow moving water that become enriched by nutrients, mainly Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Silica. These nutrients may derive from internal and external sources and is regarded as an environmental issue for developed and developing countries. The main associate of excess nutrients is blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), the largest of which occurring in Australia in 1991 along the Darling-Barwon River system. (Rahman and Bakri). When eutrophication occurs, the amount of nutrients present is too great and exceeds the natural rate of nutrient flow and removal. The result of which is an exponential rate of plant growth, predominantly algal, that can slow and block waterways, diminish water quality and kill a range of animals and plants. Animals such as fish and amphibians are an obvious initial

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