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Biogeochemistry of Estuaries$
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Thomas S. Bianchi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195160826

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195160826.001.0001

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Anthropogenic Stressors in Estuaries

Anthropogenic Stressors in Estuaries

(p.465) Chapter 15 Anthropogenic Stressors in Estuaries
Biogeochemistry of Estuaries

Thomas S. Bianchi

Oxford University Press

Human demands on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are on the increase globally and have likely exceeded the regenerative capacity of the Earth since the 1980s. Demands on our aquatic resources will increase in coming decades as it is projected that 75% of the world’s population (6.3 billion) will reside in coastal areas by 2025 (Tilman et al., 2001). The Earth’s population is expected to reach 9 billion during this century, and the projected effects of contaminant loading and human encroachment on biodiversity still remain unclear. The disturbance on global coastal ecosystems and the threat it will have on the economically critical resources they provide, has been estimated to be valued at 12.6 trillion U.S. dollars (Costanza et al., 2001). It has become increasingly apparent that in many regions of the world, Earth systems, which have been viewed as being primarily controlled by natural drivers such as climate, vegetation, and lithology, are now controlled by social, societal, and economic drivers (e.g., population growth, urbanization, industrialization water engineering) (Meybeck, 2002, 2003). This replacement of natural drivers over the past 50 to 200 years has recently been referred to as the Anthropocene era (first postulated by Vernadski, 1926), as a next phase that follows the Holocene era (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000). Other studies that have effectively made large-scale linkages between human effects on the Earth systems (Turner et al., 1990) and aquatic systems (Costanza et al., 1990, 1997; Meybeck, 2002, 2003; Meybeck and Vörösmarty, 2004) have all concluded that a more comprehensive and fine-scale interpretation of the Anthropocene is needed if we are to make future predictions and management decisions effectively. The growth and movement of human populations have resulted in a significant stressor in the form of invasive species that has altered global biodiversity patterns. For example, the introduction of invasive species worldwide has changed the community composition and physical structure of many ecosystems (Elton, 1958; Vitousek et al., 1997). Estuarine systems, like the northern San Francisco Bay, have experienced serious declines in productivity at the base of the food web over recent decades after the introduction of the Asian clam, Potamocorbula amurensis, in 1987 (Carlton et al., 1990).

Keywords:   anthropogenic stressors, demographic changes, dissolved sorbing neutral HOC (NHOC), metal ion chemistry, salting-out effect

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