The eutrophication commandments
Typically, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are used to illustrate how humans have impacted the earth. However, we have also dramatically altered the amount of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling through the biosphere. Eventually these nutrients are carried to coastal receiving waters where they cause severe, often negative consequences including increased phytoplankton and macroalgae blooms, loss of submerged aquatic vegetation, low oxygen events, and decreased biodiversity. In many systems mitigation efforts are now underway to return these ecosystems to a less impacted state. While many uncertainties about the best way to manage eutrophic systems remain it is clear that we must take action to lessen our human nutrient footprint. Based on our current understanding of eutrophic systems we present ten eutrophication commandments or guidelines as a tool for scientists, policy makers, managers, and the public.