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Mar Pollut Bull. 2009 Dec;58(12):1835-42. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.07.024. Epub 2009 Aug 22.

Century-scale records of land-based activities recorded in Mesoamerican coral cores.

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  • 1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr. 0208, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA. jcarilli@ucsd.edu

Abstract

The Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world, is located in the western Caribbean Sea off the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Particularly in the south, the surrounding watersheds are steep and the climate is extremely wet. With development and agricultural expansion, the potential for negative impacts to the reef from land-based runoff becomes high. We constructed annually resolved century-scale records of metal/calcium ratios in coral skeletons collected from four sites experiencing a gradient of land-based runoff. Our proxy data indicate that runoff onto the reef has increased relatively steadily over time at all sites, consistent with land use trends from historical records. Sediment supply to the reef is greater in the south, and these more exposed reefs will probably benefit most immediately from management that targets runoff reduction. However, because runoff at all sites is steadily increasing, even distal sites will benefit from watershed management.

PMID:
19700175
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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