Coastal eutrophication drives acidification, oxygen loss, and ecosystem change in a major oceanic upwelling system
We conduct a modeling study of the effects of enhanced coastal nutrient export from human activities on the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles of the Southern California Bight, in the context of emerging global climate change. The modeling approach used is innovative in the breadth of its scope, and simulations are generally consistent with local measurements. The human effects on the regional ecosystem from coastal nitrogen inputs of 23 million people are substantial, leading to significant increases in the photosynthesis and biomass of phytoplankton and increased oxygen loss and acidification of the water column. These changes are likely to compress habitat for a variety of marine organisms, with cascading ecological effects and implications for marine resources and water-quality management.