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What's in the Water?

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A coastal algae bloom.

Said researcher Cascade Tuholske, What was really surprising through this research is how diets shifting to animal-based proteins are impacting marine ecology."

Credit: Nicholas Aumen/USGS

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) researchers have mapped the global pathways of nitrogen and pathogens from human wastewater.

Their data visualization plots the sources and destinations of nitrogen, common to agricultural and wastewater, which causes offshore phytoplankton blooms that strip the waters of oxygen.

UCSB's Ben Halpern said, "Our work here helps map where nutrients from wastewater are likely putting [coastal] ecosystems at greatest risk."

UCSB's Cascade Tuholske said the research indicates that diets rich in animal-based proteins, typical of wealthy nations, increase nitrogen concentrations in wastewater.

The researchers hope the mapping model will inform local remediation efforts.

From The Current (University of California, Santa Barbara)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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