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Nitrogen Pollution May Have Less Of An Impact Than Previously Thought

One of the biggest problems faced by inshore coral reefs is nitrogen pollution.

Nitrogen, which is a common component of most fertilizers, often washes into the seas and the effect on inshore reefs can be devastating. However, researchers have found that offshore, things may be a little different due to a study conducted on a 130-year-old Brain coral.

The study conducted on the coral in the North Atlantic off the U.S. East Coast revealed that offshore reefs have a much lower level of nitrogen than previously thought. Scientists, among them Princeton University’s Xingchen (Tony) Wang, conducted the research.

As Wang told Ocean News and Technology magazine:

“To our surprise, we did not see evidence of increased nitrogen pollution in the North Atlantic Ocean over the past several decades.”

The study directly contradicts predictive models and a previous study in the South China Sea, which found elevated levels of nitrogen in offshore reefs. One of the theorized reasons for the decline in nitrogen levels off the coast of the United States is the effectiveness of U.S. nitrogen pollution control measures.

You can find the study here.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for


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