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Land-Based Nitrogen Pollution Playing Major Role in Coral Reef Die-Offs

Acropora at English Wikipedia
Bleached Coral

Coral reefs are facing serious threats all over the world, and are dying at alarming rates. Scientists have mostly attributed coral bleaching and diseases to environmental stressors like warming water temperatures and increased acidification brought on by climate change. Now, a 30 year study reveals land-based nitrogen is playing a major role.

Plus, while the floating tropical brown seaweed Sargassum is essential for marine life, too much of it can be disastrous, causing serious environmental, ecological and economic problems. Now, researchers have discovered what they’re calling the “Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt” which extends from West Africa all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. There is concern this may just be the “new normal.” We're joined by Dr. Brian LaPointe, he’s a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and the lead researcher on both of these new studies.