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Mangrove filtration of anthropogenic nutrients in the Rio Coco Solo, Panama

Brenda B. Lin (School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Jonathan Dushoff (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Article publication date: 1 April 2004



Measurements of the distribution pattern of several nutrients (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate) and indicators (dissolved oxygen and conductivity) were conducted along the river Coco Solo on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The project investigated the extent to which mangrove forests could act as a vegetative buffer zone between disturbed freshwater sources and coastal water. Upriver freshwater samples were collected in known areas of human disturbance to assess levels of the nutrients near points of origin and exhibited elevated concentrations of nutrients. Samples were taken along the mangrove estuary to study the concentrations of nutrients as they moved through the estuary into the ocean. Expected and observed values were compared to see whether concentration levels of the chemicals exhibited normal dilution patterns. Graphs show that the nutrient levels at the estuary points are significantly lower than expected through normal dilution, indicating the removal of nutrients through another mangrove mediated method. In this way, mangrove forests can act as effective coastal buffers of anthropogenic effects to the ocean environment. Further studies must be done to determine the actual removal mechanisms of nutrients in the mangrove estuarine system.



Lin, B.B. and Dushoff, J. (2004), "Mangrove filtration of anthropogenic nutrients in the Rio Coco Solo, Panama", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 131-142.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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