Estuaries are the borderlands between salt and freshwater environments, and they are incredibly diverse
both biologically and physically. The diversity and the high
energy of the ecosystem make estuaries remarkably resilient.
With a better understanding of these systems, we can reverse
their decline and restore the ecological richness of these
valuable, albeit muddy, environments.
The most widespread, chronic environmental problem in the coastal ocean is caused by an excess of chemical nutrients. Over the past century, a wide range of human activities—the intensification of agriculture, waste disposal, coastal development, and fossil fuel use—has substantially increased the discharge of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients into the environment. These nutrients are moved around by streams, rivers, groundwater, sewage outfalls, and the atmosphere and eventually end up in the ocean.Read More
Harmful algal blooms are natural and they are not new. But ocean scientists are growing concerned that they are now all too common. The unprecedented growth of human activities in coastal watersheds—including agriculture, aquaculture, industry, housing, and recreation—has drastically increased the amount of fertilizer flowing into coastal waters and fueled unwanted algal growth.Read More