A Review of Nutrient Loading and Effects on South Florida Estuarine and Coastal Systems

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Marine Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Kevin Carter

Second Advisor

Richard E. Dodge


The purpose of this paper is to address the growing problems associated with eutrophication in south Florida. For the purposes of this study, south Florida shall consist of everything south of the Indian River Lagoon, on the east and west coasts, including Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys. The major nutrients of concern will be defined along with their potential sources in south Florida. This paper will then focus on identifying biological responses of coastal and estuarine organisms to nutrients, including phytoplankton, macroalgae, seagrasses, corals, fish and their larvae, and marine mammals. Another area of focus will include regulation and management processes and the establishment of nutrient criteria utilizing the United States Environmental Protection Agency's nutrient criteria document. Data gaps will be presented and resolutions will be suggested, particularly in regards to quantifying nutrient loads to south Florida estuarine and coastal systems.

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