||Classification of Regional Patterns of Environmental Drivers and Benthic Habitats in Pacific Northwest Estauries.
||National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab., Corvallis, OR. Western Ecology Div.
Environmental impact ;
Benthonic zones ;
Aquatic ecosystems ;
Algal blooms ;
Biological indicators ;
Nutrient loading ;
Seasonal variations ;
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||Increased anthropogenic nutrient loading and the subsequent eutrophication of coastal ecosystems is a growing ecological and economic problem both in the United States and globally. Eutrophication can result in a range of ecological impacts including hypoxic conditions, fish kills, loss of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), degraded benthic conditions, harmful algal blooms, and detrimental increases in benthic macroalgae. The nature and severity of the impacts vary with the level of nutrient loading as well as with the estuary type and regional drivers. One tool to help address this problem is the development of classification schemes to allow researchers and managers to extrapolate results from a limited number of well-studied estuaries to the larger domain of estuaries within the same class. Several estuarine classification schemes have been developed based on different approaches and endpoints. However, the ecological reality of these classification schemes for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) is not clear, in part, because of the limited baseline information available to evaluate the schemes. Additionally, the available information gives 'mixed messages' as to whether eutrophication is occurring in the coastal PNW estuaries. Dissolved oxygen levels are generally high and chlorophyll a is moderate to low, indicating a non-eutrophic condition. However, nutrient loading is high and within the range of eutrophic estuaries on the East Coast.
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||68D; 57H; 47D