Capstone Title

The Effects of Ocean Outfalls in the Marine Environment

Defense Date

12-2012

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney

Abstract

Wastewater outfalls are an important part of human life and the marine ecosystem. The capstone review describes alterations caused by effluents at the molecular, microbial and ecosystem levels, to the areas near outfalls. Chemical and microbial substances are being released into the water, regardless of the type of wastewater treatment. Endocrine disruptors, trace metals and organochlorine compounds are present, and can affect the marine ecosystem. The different methods for detecting or assessing fecal contamination have improved over the years by using microbial parameters. The mortality rate of microbial organisms in seawater close to the outfalls is an important factor when considering the best parameter for assessing water quality and potential microbial impact. Fish behaviors and cellular enzymatic reactions are being affected by chemical substances at the cellular level. The fundamental behaviors of organisms are being altered by the feminization of fish species, affecting their ability to mate. Nutrients introduced from outfalls are altering benthic, coral reef and fish communities and impacting the natural balance of the ecosystem.

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