A Canada-U.S. research team has found that commercial fisheries play an unexpected role in the decline of water quality in coastal waters. In the latest issue of Nature Geoscience, Roxane Maranger and Nina Caraco explain that the collapse of the fisheries from decades of over fishing has played a significant role in disturbing the balance between nitrogen entering and leaving costal water systems.
The study, the first to examine the world’s 58 coatal regions, shows how failing to maintain ecosystems in a sustainable manner has wide-ranging consequences. Using data provided by the United Nations, Maranger and Caraco found that commercial fishing has played an important, yet declining, role in removing man-made nitrogen from coastal waters.
“Fish accumulate nitrogen as biomass, and when humans move fish from the ocean to the table through commercial fisheries, they are returning part of this terrestrial nitrogen generated by humans back to the land,” said Maranger, a biology professor at the Université de Montréal (Canada).
Caraco, an aquatic biogeochemist at the Cary Institue of Ecosystem Studies (Millbrook, New York, U.S.) notes: ”While nitrogen is essential to plant and animal life in oceans, human export of nitrogen from land to ocean has resulted in exploding nitrogen levels in coastal waters over the past century. Nitrogen-rich fertilizer that’s applied to farmland eventually makes its way into coastal waters via a network of streams and rivers. Fertilizer run-off is a significant source of nitrogen pollution to many coastal regions around the world.”
Four decades ago, commercial fishing removed the equivalent of 60 percent of the nitrogen from coastal oceans that entered as fertilizers. Today, this figure has dropped to 20 percent. “From a historical perspective, this is bad news,” says Maranger. “Increased nitrogen levels in coastal ocean ecosystems throughout the world have resulted in excessive plant growth, lack of oxygen, severe reductions in water quality and in fish and other animal populations.”
In order to manage coastal ecosystems in a sustainable manner, while fully understanding the impact that humans are having on the nitrogen cycle, the scientists recommend the role of commercial fisheries be reexamined.
S-J Desjardins | EurekAlert!
The struggle for life in the Dead Sea sediments: Necrophagy as a survival mechanism
26.03.2019 | Geological Society of America
Mangroves and their significance for climate protection
26.03.2019 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
Cancers that display a specific combination of sugars, called T-antigen, are more likely to spread through the body and kill a patient. However, what regulates...
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
26.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
26.03.2019 | Earth Sciences
26.03.2019 | Earth Sciences