Brian E. Lapointe

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, United States

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Publications (50)86.35 Total impact

  • Peter R F Bell, Ibrahim Elmetri, Brian E Lapointe
    AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment 01/2014; · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The sustained biomass of pelagic Sargassum in nutrient-poor waters of the Sargasso Sea has long been a paradox in biological oceanography. To better understand the mechanisms supporting growth of Sargassum over its broad geographic range in the western North Atlantic, we measured growth rate, gross productivity, and C:N:P ratios of both Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans from a variety of neritic (Caribbean Sea, Straits of Florida, Gulf Stream) and oceanic (Sargasso Sea) locations. In neritic areas, the abundance of associated fishes was quantified with a purse seine net designed to minimize fish avoidance of sampling gear. Abundant fish species were also collected for measurements of ammonium and soluble reactive phosphorus excretion rates. Low growth rates and productivity of both S. natans and S. fluitans were associated with high C:N and C:P ratios in oceanic populations in the Sargasso Sea, confirming strong nutrient-limitation in this oligotrophic gyre. In comparison, both species from the neritic areas had higher productivity and growth rates and lower C:N and C:P ratios, indicating relatively nutrient-enriched growth. Sargassum windrows in neritic locations had high abundances of associated fishes (mean of 128 fishes/kg wet weight Sargassum), especially juvenile filefish Stephanolepsis hispidus (Monacanthidae) and jacks (Carangidae). High excretion rates of ammonium and soluble reactive phosphorus were associated with these mutualistic fishes, which can provide nutrients needed to sustain growth and biomass of Sargassum. These findings suggest that new production of Sargassum occurs in neritic waters of the western North Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, where mutualistic relationships with fishes, especially juvenile filefishes and carangids, contribute to nutrient supply and growth.
    Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 01/2014; 458:46–56. · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • Peter R F Bell, Ibrahim Elmetri, Brian E Lapointe
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    ABSTRACT: Long-term monitoring data show that hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has reduced by >70 % over the past century. Although authorities and many marine scientists were in denial for many years, it is now widely accepted that this reduction is largely attributable to the chronic state of eutrophication that exists throughout most of the GBR. Some reefs in the far northern GBR where the annual mean chlorophyll a (Chl a) is in the lower range of the proposed Eutrophication Threshold Concentration for Chl a (~0.2-0.3 mg m(-3)) show little or no evidence of degradation over the past century. However, the available evidence suggests that coral diseases and the crown-of-thorns starfish will proliferate in such waters and hence the mandated eutrophication Trigger values for Chl a (~0.4-0.45 mg m(-3)) will need to be decreased to ~0.2 mg m(-3) for sustaining coral reef communities.
    AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment 10/2013; · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    Remote Sensing 01/2013; 5(1):415-431. · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Optical data collected in coastal waters off South Florida and in the Caribbean Sea between January 2009 and December 2010 were used to evaluate products derived with three bio-optical inversion algorithms applied to MODIS/Aqua, MODIS/Terra, and SeaWiFS satellite observations. The products included the diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490 nm (Kd_490) and for the visible range (Kd_PAR), and euphotic depth (Zeu, corresponding to 1% of the surface incident photosynthetically available radiation or PAR). Above-water hyperspectral reflectance data collected over optically shallow waters of the Florida Keys between June 1997 and August 2011 were used to help understand algorithm performance over optically shallow waters. The in situ data covered a variety of water types in South Florida and the Caribbean Sea, ranging from deep clear waters, turbid coastal waters, and optically shallow waters (Kd_490 range of ~ 0.03–1.29 m− 1). An algorithm based on Inherent Optical Properties (IOPs) showed the best performance (RMSD < 13% and R2 ~ 1.0 for MODIS/Aqua and SeaWiFS). Two algorithms based on empirical regressions performed well for offshore clear waters, but underestimated Kd_490 and Kd_PAR in coastal waters due to high turbidity or shallow bottom contamination. Similar results were obtained when only in situ data were used to evaluate algorithm performance. The excellent agreement between satellite-derived remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) and in situ Rrs suggested that the different product uncertainties resulted primarily from algorithm inversion as opposed to atmospheric correction. A simple empirical model was developed to derive Zeu from Kd_490 for satellite measurements of nearshore waters. MODIS/Aqua gave the best results in general relative to in situ observations. Our findings lay the basis for synoptic time-series studies of water quality in coastal ecosystems, yet more work is required to minimize the bottom interference in the Florida Keys optically shallow waters.
    Remote Sensing of Environment 01/2013; 131:38–50. · 5.10 Impact Factor
  • Brian E. Lapointe, Laura W. Herren, Bradley J. Bedford
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple hurricanes impacted southeast Florida during 2004 and 2005, producing record rainfall and large-scale stormwater runoff into the urbanized St. Lucie Estuary (SLE). To assess effects on water quality, field samples were taken in June and November 2005 and March 2006 along the SLE's three main segments: the South Fork, connected via the C-44 canal to Lake Okeechobee; the North Fork, which receives residential and agricultural runoff from the C-23 and C-24 canals; and the Middle Estuary, which flows into the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. Salinities were <1‰ throughout the normally brackish estuary during the 2005 samplings, but returned to near-normal levels by March 2006 in all but the South Fork. Low salinities in 2005 correlated with low dissolved oxygen, high turbidity, elevated nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations, and high fecal and total coliform counts. Highest turbidity (84.4 NTU), nitrate (37.9 μM), and total dissolved nitrogen (130.8 μM) concentrations occurred in the South Fork, whereas the highest ammonium (15.4 μM), soluble reactive phosphorus (10.5 μM), and total dissolved phosphorus (13.8 μM) concentrations occurred in the North Fork. High fecal and total coliform counts occurred in tidal creeks adjacent to dense residential areas that rely on septic tanks for on-site sewage disposal. The data suggest that increased stormwater retention, minimization of freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee, and enhanced treatment of both stormwater and sewage are needed to mitigate future stormwater-driven water quality perturbations in the SLE.
    Journal of Coastal Research 01/2012; 28(6):1345-1361. · 0.76 Impact Factor
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    B. E. Lapointe, K. Thacker, C. Hanson, L. Getten
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    ABSTRACT: Coral reefs in the Negril Marine Park (NMP), Jamaica, have been increasingly impacted by nutrient pollution and macroalgal blooms following decades of intensive development as a major tourist destination. A baseline survey of DIN and SRP concentrations, C:N:P and stable nitrogen isotope ratios (δ15N) of abundant reef macroalgae on shallow and deep reefs of the NMP in 1998 showed strong P-limitation and evidence of increasing sewage pollution. In 1999, a sewage collection and treatment project began diverting wastewater from the resort and urban areas to a pond system that discharged partially-treated effluent into the South Negril River (SNR). These sewage discharges significantly increased concentrations of NH4+ and SRP (N:P ∼13) in the SNR, which flows into Long Bay and around Negril’s “West End”. Concentrations of SRP, the primary limiting nutrient, were higher on shallow reefs of the West End in 2001 compared to 1998. Stable nitrogen isotope ratios (δ15N) of abundant reef macroalgae on both shallow and deep reefs of the West End in 2002 were significantly higher than baseline values in 1998, indicating an escalating impact of sewage nitrogen pollution over this timeframe. The increased nutrient concentrations and δ15N enrichment of reef macroalgae correlated with blooms of the chlorophyte Chaetomorpha linum in shallow waters of Long Bay and Codium isthmocladum and Caulerpa cupressoides on deep reefs of the West End. Sewage treatment systems adjacent to coral reefs must include nutrient removal to ensure that DIN and SRP concentrations, after dilution, are below the low thresholds noted for these oligotrophic ecosystems. Keywordmacroalgae–sewage–carbon–nitrogen–phosphorus–stable nitrogen isotopes–eutrophication
    Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology 01/2011; 29(4):775-789. · 0.58 Impact Factor
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    Brian E. Lapointe, Bradley J. Bedford
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    ABSTRACT: In Hawaii, blooms of native and non-native macroalgae (limu) have become increasingly problematic in recent decades. Although the role of human vectors in introducing non-native macroalgae is well documented, the ecological role of nutrient pollution in facilitating blooms of these species is not. This study assessed the effects of stormwater discharges on the diversity, abundance, and nutrient content (C, N, P and δ15N) of native and non-native limu at three sites in the intertidal zone at Ewa Beach, O’ahu. The results showed that native limu species diversity and abundance decreased with proximity to a stormwater outfall (ASWO), whereas non-native species abundance increased. Limu tissue δ15N values at all three sites were within the range reported for sewage N. δ15N, %N, and N:P ratios all increased with proximity to the ASWO, supporting the hypothesis that stormwater was a primary source of N enrichment in the study area. In contrast to N, limu %P showed little change among the sites, suggesting that the generally high N:P ratios, indicative of P-limitation, resulted from high N:P ratios from the upland watershed. Abundance and tissue %N of the non-native rhodophyte Acanthophora spicifera increased with proximity to the ASWO and were strongly correlated (r2 = 0.94) compared to native rhodophytes, indicating that stormwater N enrichment provided this invader a competitive advantage (lower C:N ratio) over native limu. These results indicate that the spread of non-native macroalgae in oligotrophic coral reef regions can be facilitated by anthropogenic nutrients in stormwater runoff, thereby threatening native species and ecosystem services.Research highlights▶ Abundance and diversity of native seaweeds (limu) decreased with increasing proximity to stormwater discharges at Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands. ▶ Abundance of two non-native red limu, Acanthophora spicifera and Hypnea musciformis, both increased with increasing proximity to stormwater discharges. ▶ δ15N, %N, and N:P ratios of limu tissue increased with increasing proximity to the stormwater outfall, supporting the hypothesis that stormwater discharges were a primary source of nutrient enrichment. ▶ Tissue N of Acanthophora spicifera increased more than that of native limu with increasing proximity to the stormwater outfall, indicating stormwater nutrient enrichment provides this pervasive invader with a competitive advantage over native limu. ▶ This study supports the hypothesis that nutrient enrichment from stormwater runoff is an important ecological factor facilitating invasions of non-native limu in the Hawaiian Islands.
    Harmful Algae 01/2011; 10(3):310-318. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tobago's fringing coral reefs (FR) and Buccoo Reef Complex (BRC) can be affected locally by wastewater and stormwater, and regionally by the Orinoco River. In 2001, seasonal effects of these inputs on water-column nutrients and phytoplankton (Chl a), macroalgal C:N:P and delta(15)N values, and biocover at FR and BRC sites were examined. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN, particularly ammonium) increased and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) decreased from the dry to wet season. Wet season satellite and Chl a data showed that Orinoco runoff reaching Tobago contained chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) but little Chl a, suggesting minimal riverine nutrient transport to Tobago. C:N ratios were lower (16 vs. 21) and macroalgal delta(15)N values higher (6.6 per thousand vs. 5.5 per thousand) in the BRC vs. FR, indicating relatively more wastewater N in the BRC. High macroalgae and low coral cover in the BRC further indicated that better wastewater treatment could improve the health of Tobago's coral reefs.
    Marine pollution bulletin 03/2010; 60(3):334-43. · 2.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stable nitrogen isotope (delta(15)N) analysis has proven an effective "fingerprint" of sewage contamination in coral reef environments; however, short-term variability in nitrogen cycling and isotopic fractionation may obscure long-term trends. Here, we examine delta(15)N signatures in the organic endoskeletons of long-lived (20-40 years) gorgonian corals. Specimens were collected from relatively pristine reefs off Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas, and from reefs off southeast Florida heavily impacted by multiple sources of anthropogenic nitrogen. The delta(15)N of the most recently grown skeleton (branch tips) ranged from +2 to +3 per thousand at Green Turtle Cay, and +4.5 to +10 per thousand off Florida. These values closely match the delta(15)N of macroalgae collected from the same locations, indicating that gorgonian corals are isotopically similar to primary producers, and therefore suitable for assessing sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen. Differences in the delta(15)N between younger and older skeleton indicated an overall decline of -0.34 +/- 0.06 per thousand (1 s.e) over the last 20 - 40 years at Green Turtle Cay, reflecting a possible increase in nitrogen fixation and/or atmospheric deposition of anthropogenic nitrogen. Off southeast Florida, there was an overall increase in delta(15)N over the same time period, reflecting increasing wastewater discharges from the rapidly growing population. These results highlight the usefulness of delta(15)N recorded in gorgonians and other long-lived organisms in assessing spatiotemporal patterns of nitrogen sources to coastal marine environments.
    Environmental Science and Technology 02/2010; 44(3):874-80. · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    Brian E. Lapointe, Bradley J. Bedford
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    ABSTRACT: Coral reefs off southeast Florida have experienced an unprecedented succession of invasive chlorophyte blooms over the past two decades, most recently the non-native Caulerpa brachypus f. parvifolia. To better understand the ecology and nutrition of the C. brachypus invasion, we monitored benthic cover, water column dissolved inorganic nutrients, tissue C:N:P ratios and stable nitrogen isotopes (δ15N) of C. brachypus and native chlorophytes (Caulerpa racemosa, Caulerpa verticillata, Caulerpa mexicana, Codium isthmocladum) quarterly at two reef sites – the Princess Anne (PA) and North Colonel's Ledge (NCL) – in 2003–2004. The PA site was influenced by stormwater discharges from the Lake Worth inlet whereas NCL was farther distant from these discharges. Between winter and spring of 2003, C. brachypus became the dominant benthic chlorophyte, expanding to >60% cover at both PA and NCL. Following cold temperatures (13 °C) associated with strong upwelling and high nitrate concentrations (21 μM) at NCL in July 2003, C. brachypus cover decreased, suggesting that upwelling can stress growth of this tropical alga. Mean ammonium (0.60 μM), nitrate (2.7 μM) and DIN (3.2 μM) concentrations were high for coral reef environments. Low mean C:N ratios of ∼13 in C. brachypus at both PA and NCL indicated little, if any, N-limitation compared to higher C:N ratios (up to 24) and greater N-limitation in native chlorophytes. Despite a relatively high mean SRP concentration (0.21 μM), mean N:P ratios of ∼39 in C. brachypus and other chlorophytes at PA and NCL suggested that these blooms were P-limited. Multiple lines of evidence support the hypothesis that land-based nutrient sources fueled the C. brachypus invasion. First, more persistent blooms of C. brachypus at PA compared to NCL correlated with significantly lower tissue C:P and higher δ15N values (wet season) at PA, the site most directly influenced by land-based stormwater runoff. Second, C:N, C:P, and δ15N values of C. brachypus correlated with seasonal patterns of rainfall and stormwater runoff. Third, δ15N values of C. brachypus and other chlorophytes decreased at NCL following strong upwelling in July 2003, confirming that upwelled nitrate was not the cause of the elevated δ15N values observed in these blooms. Lastly, the mean δ15N values of C. brachypus and other chlorophytes off southeast Florida (+4.9‰) were in the range of sewage nitrogen and significantly higher than values (+1.2‰) for reference chlorophytes in the Abacos, Bahamas, an area that experiences relatively little sewage input.
    Harmful Algae 01/2010; · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While coral reefs decline, scientists argue, and effective strategies to manage land-based pollution lag behind the extent of the problem. There is need for objective, cost-effective, assessment methods. The measurement of stable nitrogen isotope ratios, delta(15)N, in tissues of reef organisms shows promise as an indicator of sewage stress. The choice of target organism will depend upon study purpose, availability, and other considerations such as conservation. Algae are usually plentiful and have been shown faithfully to track sewage input. The organic matrix of bivalve shells can provide time series spanning, perhaps, decades. Gorgonians have been shown to track sewage, and can provide records potentially centuries-long. In areas where baseline data are lacking, which is almost everywhere, delta(15)N in gorgonians can provide information on status and trends. In coral tissue, delta(15)N combined with insoluble residue determination can provide information on both sewage and sediment stress in areas lacking baseline data. In the developed world, delta(15)N provides objective assessment in a field complicated by conflicting opinions. Sample handling and processing are simple and analysis costs are low. This is a method deserving widespread application.
    Marine pollution bulletin 04/2009; 58(6):793-802. · 2.63 Impact Factor
  • Brian E. Lapointe
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    ABSTRACT: The combined effects of light intensity and nitrogen (NO3−) on growth rate, pigment content, and biochemical composition of Gracilaria foliifera v. angustissima (Harvey) Taylor was investigated using outdoor continuous cultures.Growth of Gracilaria increased linearly with increasing light to 0.43 doublings d−1 at high light levels (383 ly d−1 of in situ light), suggesting that light may often limit growth of this plant in nature. Chlorophyll a and phycoerythrin contents were inversely proportional to light level and growth rate. However, pigment content did not affect the growth capacity of Gracilaria. There was no increase in growth or pigment content with increasing additions of nitrogen. The low nitrogen treatment was unenriched seawater that had higher NO3− levels than most coastal waters (influent = 8.61 μM; residual = 0.94 μM). When growing near its maximum rate under high light intensities, Gracilaria had a significantly (P < 0.001) lower phycoerythrin: chlorophyll a ratio (phyco: Chl a) than did Gracilaria growing more slowly under lower light (Phyco:Chl a of 2.8 ± 0.2 vs. 3.8 ± 0.3). Faster growing plants also had C:N ratios above 10, indicating N- limitation. In addition to harvesting light the phycobiliproteins of Gracilaria may store nitrogen.Growth rates of Gracilaria correlated negatively with ash (r =–0.85) and positively with the carbon: phycoerythrin ratio (r = 0.85), suggesting that these two indices can be used to estimate growth in the field.
    Journal of Phycology 06/2008; 17(1):90 - 95. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A massive outbreak of Karenia brevis that had been ongoing for several months along the southwestern coast of Florida was sampled in early September 2005 off Sanibel Island to assess the utility of bio-optical features and ataxonomic analysis (quantification of eukaryotic and cyanobacterial picoplankton) by flow cytometry in monitoring red tide blooms. Sea-surface sampling followed aircraft visual location of discolored water. Within the most concentrated area of the bloom, chlorophyll a values exceeded 500 μg l−1, and concentrations of nitrate (0.3 μM ± 0.0) and ammonium (<0.2 μM) were depleted compared to high concentrations of total dissolved nitrogen, total dissolved phosphorus, and soluble reactive phosphorus (141 ± 34 μM, 16.5 ± 2.5 μM, and 6.44 ± 0.57 μM, respectively). Low water clarity in the bloom (Secchi depth transparency 0.3 m, Kd estimated at 4.83 m−1) was strongly influenced by attenuation from dinoflagellates as well as chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM). The fact that the K. brevis bloom occurred in lower-salinity (30 psu), high-nutrient waters implicates riverine transport of land-based nutrients as a source of nutrient supplies that fueled or sustained the bloom. Throughout ongoing efforts to advance modeling and technological capabilities that presently lack reliable predictive capability, bio-optical remote sensing via aerial flyovers along with in-water sensor data can continue to provide accurate coverage of relatively large temporal and spatial features. Flow cytometry can provide conservative (because of some cell lysis), rapid, near-real-time validation of bloom components. The concentration and position of the organisms, along with water mass scalars, can also help to diagnose factors promoting K. brevis bloom development and dispersion.
    Harmful Algae. 01/2008;
  • Coral Reefs 11/2007; 26(4):817-818. · 3.66 Impact Factor
  • Coral Reefs 08/2007; 26(3):515-515. · 3.66 Impact Factor
  • Peter R F Bell, Brian E Lapointe, Ibrahim Elmetri
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    ABSTRACT: The results from the multimillion dollar Enrichment of Nutrients on Coral Reefs Experiment (ENCORE) on One Tree Island Reef (OTIR) suggest that increased nutrient loads to coral reefs will have little or no effect on the algal growth rates and, hence, on the associated effects that increased algal growth might have on the functioning and stability of coral reefs. However, a comparison of the concentrations of nutrients within the OTIR lagoon with the proposed nutrient threshold concentrations (NTC) for coral reefs suggests that all sites, including the control sites, were saturated with nutrients during ENCORE, and, hence, one would not expect to get any differences between treatments in the algal-growth related measurements. Thus, ENCORE results provide strong support for the proposed NTCs and support the ecological principle that algal productivity and, consequently, the functioning of coral reefs are sensitive to small changes in the background concentrations of nutrients. The principal conclusion of ENCORE, namely that the addition of nutrients did not cause the "pristine" OTIR to convert from coral communities to algal dominated reefs, is contrary to the fact that there was prolific macroalgal growth on the walls and crests of the experimental microatolls by the end of ENCORE.
    AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment 08/2007; 36(5):416-24. · 2.30 Impact Factor
  • ROGER MANN, CHARLES S. YENTSCH, BRIAN E. LAPOINTE
    Journal of Shellfish Research - J SHELLFISH RES. 01/2007; 26(4):895-903.
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    Brian E. Lapointe, Bradley J. Bedford
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    ABSTRACT: Macroalgal blooms have increased globally in recent decades as a result of increased nutrient enrichment and eutrophication of coastal waters. In Lee County, Florida, this problem reached a critical stage in 2003/2004 when massive rhodophyte blooms washed ashore, making beaches unsuitable for recreation and requiring an expensive removal program. To better understand the ecology of these blooms, water quality and macroalgae sampling was conducted in August 2004, prior to hurricane Charley, and again in late October following several months of large freshwater discharges from the Caloosahatchee River. During both samplings, water and macroalgae were collected along a gradient extending from the Caloosahatchee River to natural and artificial reefs up to 26 km from shore.Dissolved nutrient concentrations were generally high throughout the study area, with significantly higher concentrations in the Caloosahatchee River. Mean dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentrations in the Caloosahatchee River increased from Ortona Lock (<18 μM) to Franklin Lock (23–28 μM) downstream during both samplings, indicating significant enrichment within the basin. On coastal reefs, mean ammonium concentrations increased six-fold (≤0.20–1.31 μM) and soluble reactive phosphorus increased three-fold (0.30–0.92 μM) from August to October, respectively. Mean reef macroalgae C:N ratios were low and similar in August (13.9) and October (13.5), and C:P and N:P ratios were also low but decreased significantly from August to October (386–242 and 27.4–17.5, respectively). Macroalgal δ15N values increased from Ortona Lock (+8 to 9‰) to Franklin Lock (+12 to 15‰) during both samplings, were within the sewage nitrogen range, and decreased with increasing distance from shore to ∼+3.0‰ at the most offshore reef. Macroalgae (Gracilaria, Hypnea, Botryocladia, Eucheuma, Sargassum) collected in July 2004 from Lee County beaches had mean δ15N values >+6.0‰, similar to values for macroalgae on inshore reefs and within the sewage nitrogen range. However, mean δ15N values of reef macroalgae decreased from August (+5.84‰) to October (+3.89‰) as Caloosahatchee River discharges increased, suggesting relatively larger contributions from nitrogen sources with low δ15N values (<+3‰), such as rainfall and agricultural fertilizers, in the wet season. Improved management of freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee, combined with nutrient removal from sewage effluent within the Caloosahatchee River drainage basin, could help mitigate future macroalgal blooms in Lee County's coastal waters.
    Harmful Algae. 01/2007;
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    Coral Reefs 05/2006; 25(2):186-186. · 3.66 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
86.35 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2014
    • Florida Atlantic University
      Boca Raton, Florida, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Queensland 
      • School of Chemical Engineering
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • 1999
    • University of Miami
      • Division of Marine Biology & Fisheries
      كورال غيبلز، فلوريدا, Florida, United States