The growing human footprint on coastal and open-ocean biogeochemistry. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Climate change, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, excess nutrient inputs, and pollution in its many forms are fundamentally altering the chemistry of the ocean, often on a global scale and, in some cases, at rates greatly exceeding those in the historical and recent geological record. Major observed trends include a shift in the acid-base chemistry of seawater, reduced subsurface oxygen both in near-shore coastal water and in the open ocean, rising coastal nitrogen levels, and widespread increase in mercury and persistent organic pollutants. Most of these perturbations, tied either directly or indirectly to human fossil fuel combustion, fertilizer use, and industrial activity, are projected to grow in coming decades, resulting in increasing negative impacts on ocean biota and marine resources.

publication date

  • June 18, 2010