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Old 07-16-2019, 05:05 PM   #684
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Speaking of improper attributions...this just came into my feed...

A study published in the international journal Marine Biology, reveals what's really killing coral reefs. With 30 years of unique data from Looe Key Reef in the lower Florida Keys, researchers from Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and collaborators have discovered that the problem of coral bleaching is not just due to a warming planet, but also a planet that is simultaneously being enriched with reactive nitrogen from multiple sources.
Improperly treated sewage, fertilizers and top soil are elevating nitrogen levels, which are causing phosphorus starvation in the corals, reducing their temperature threshold for "bleaching." These coral reefs were dying off long before they were impacted by rising water temperatures. This study represents the longest record of reactive nutrients and algae concentrations for coral reefs anywhere in the world.
"Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation at Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area during our long-term study," said Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., senior author and a research professor at FAU's Harbor Branch.

I've been suggesting for years that I'd be more likely to believe general pollution was the cause of bleaching vs warming waters. We are a messy species. This makes a tonne more sense. Will be interesting to see if places like Australia find similar causes. It's also a good reminder that assuming everything is due to climate change misses our other pollution, which is often much worse.
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