Monitoring nitrogen pollution in seasonally-pulsed coastal waters requires judicious choice of indicator species
Embargoed until: 2019-09-01
MetadataShow full item record
We compared the sensitivity of algae and hermit crabs to seasonal shifts in the dominance of continuous sewage discharge vs. pulsed inputs of terrestrial material to a subtropical bay. During periods of low rainfall, when sewage was proportionately more important than diffuse loads from adjacent catchments, algae and crabs provided comparable information on the spatial distribution of N pollution. Conversely, during the wet season, when diffuse nitrogen loads from the catchment were of greater importance, the isotope signal of algae decoupled from that of crabs, indexing a greater magnitude of change and a more pronounced spatial gradient. Overall, algae better indexed the short-term impacts of anthropogenic nitrogen pollution whereas the signals provided by crabs provided a longer-term integrated measure of N inputs. Our results demonstrate the value of including multiple taxa with variable traits when monitoring the spatial and temporal extent of nitrogen inputs to coastal waters.
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Copyright 2017 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.