1st Edition

Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems
Long-Term Effects of Climate and Nutrient Loading on Trophic Organization

ISBN 9781466568426
Published November 3, 2014 by CRC Press
572 Pages 11 Color & 191 B/W Illustrations

USD $155.00

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Book Description

Produced by a Leading Aquatic Scientist

A narrative account of how estuaries around the world are being altered by human forces and human-induced global climate changes, Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems: Long-Term Effects of Climate and Nutrient Loading on Trophic Organization chronicles a more than 40-year-old research effort conducted by Dr. Robert J. Livingston and his research team at Florida State University. Designed to evaluate system-level responses to natural and anthropogenic nutrient loading and long-term climate changes, the study focused on the northeast Gulf of Mexico river–bay systems, and concentrated on phytoplankton/benthic macrophyte productivity and associated food web organization. It addressed the changes of food web structure relative to long-term trends of climatological conditions, and was carried out using a combination of field-descriptive and experimental approaches.

Details Climate Change, Climate Change Effects, and Eutrophication

This book includes comparative analyses of how the trophic organization of different river–bay ecosystems responded to variations of both anthropogenic impacts and natural driving factors in space and time. It incorporates a climate database and evaluates the effects of climate change in the region. It also provides insights into the effects of nutrient loading and climate on the trophic organization of coastal systems in other global regions.

  • Presents research compiled from consistent field sampling methods and detailed taxonomic identifications over an extended period of study
  • Includes the methods and materials that the research team used to access the health and trophic organization of Florida’s estuaries
  • Provides an up-to-date bibliography of estuarine publications and reports

Based on a longitudinal study of anthropogenic and natural driving factors on river-estuarine systems in the northeast Gulf of Mexico, Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems: Long-Term Effects of Climate and Nutrient Loading on Trophic Organization is useful as a reference for researchers working on riverine, estuarine, and coastal marine systems.

Table of Contents

Part I



Coastal Ecosystems

Ecosystem Research

Studies in the Northeast Gulf of Mexico


Part II

Long-Term Habit Conditions

Regional Background

Rainfall and River Flows: Long-Term Changes

Nutrient Loading: Natural versus Anthropogenic Inputs

Dredged Passes to the Gulf: Comparative Effects


Stratification Comparisons: Dissolved Oxygen

Biological Impacts

Part III

Trophic Response to Long-Term Climate Changes

Climatological Impacts on Gulf Estuaries

Apalachee Bay


Rainfall and River Flows

Climatological Conditions and Nutrient Loading

Trends of Water Quality

Climatic Effects on Phytoplankton

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation




Apalachicola Estuary


River–Bay Linkages

Population Distributions in the Bay

Rainfall and River Flows


Fishes and Invertebrates

Long-Term Drought Effects on Bay Fisheries


Perdido Estuary


Physical Structure of Perdido Estuary

River Flows

Salinity Stratification and Dissolved Oxygen

Effects of Climate on Nutrient Loading

Nutrient Limitation Experiments

Climatological Control of Plankton Blooms

Secondary Productivity and Trophic Organization

Mediomastus ambiseta

Streblospio benedicti

Callinectes sapidus

Leiostomus xanthurus

Micropogonias undulatus

Rangia cuneata


Part IV

Impacts of Anthropogenic Nutrient Loading

Estuarine Response to Urban Nutrient Loading

Choctawhatchee Estuary


River Flow and Nutrient Loading

Salinity Stratification and Dissolved Oxygen

Sediment and Water Quality Factors

Plankton Distributions

Infaunal Macroinvertebrates and Fishes


Pensacola Estuary


River Flows and Nutrient Loading

Sediment and Water Quality

Salinity Stratification and Dissolved Oxygen

Chlorophyll a

Plankton Assemblages and Blooms

Animal Population Distribution and Trophic Organization

Statistical Analyses


Part V

Comparative Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems

Trophic Organization

Interacting Processes


Sediment Comparisons

Salinity/Depth Relationships

Comparison of FII Trophic Indices

Apalachicola Model

Part VI

Information Dissemination

Omission and Misrepresentation by Regional News Media

Part VII





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Robert J. Livingston is currently professor emeritus in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida). His interests include aquatic ecology, pollution biology, field and laboratory experimentation, and long-term ecosystem-level research on freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems. Over the past 43 years, Livingston’s research group has conducted a series of studies in areas from Maine to Mississippi. Dr. Livingston is the author of over 170 scientific papers and has written or edited eight books on the subject of aquatic ecology. He has been the principal investigator for more than 100 projects since 1970.


"The data compilation is impressive by any measure, and thus the book will be useful as a reference volume for researchers working on riverine, estuarine, and coastal marine systems. It is an excellent addition to the scientific literature… I commend Skip for the tremendous amount of effort that he has expended on the production of this book, as well as his other published volumes. The multifaceted nature of the book, inclusive of the huge amount of data compiled, is testimony to Skip’s long and illustrious career as a leading aquatic scientist in the United States."
—From the Series Editor Preface, Michael J. Kennish, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

"Occasionally, a book is published that has the potential to change the way we think about estuaries and how dependent we are on them and how we have altered them in the recent past. This is one such book… The Livingston Team has significantly expanded our knowledge of the ongoing and now recognized impacts of global Climate Change in coastal ecosystems – not just the visible rise of sea level and the alteration of habitats, but the invisible and difficult to discern changes in faunal and floral assemblages and the trophic alterations within various habitats… This long-term, comprehensive study of estuaries should serve as a model for future and continuing studies of estuaries in Florida and elsewhere… This treatise is recommended as a source book for all estuarine students, scientists, and coastal resource managers who claim an interest in the health and well-being of coastal ecosystems under their purview and management. Finally, this estuarine treatise contains an up-to-date bibliography of estuarine publications and reports that will serve the reader as a new beginning point for future research and studies. It also contains the methods and materials that Team Livingston used in assessing the health and trophic organization of Florida’s estuaries. Methods and procedures have changed over the past 43 years and new ones will be developed in the future; however, without some understanding of the historic trends in estuarine research reported by Team Livingston, future research may not be comparable to that of the recent past."
—From the Foreword, Edwin W. "Ed" Cake, Jr., Ph.D., Chief Science Officer & Biological Oceanographer, Gulf Environmental Associates, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, USA

"Robert J. Livingston is well known for his long-term, ecosystem-based research on freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems in the southeastern United States… The information presented in Section II is unique for several reasons. First, and most importantly, it is quite rare to have such an extensive database including biotic and abiotic responses within a single system, much less three separate systems. Second, the contribution is significant because of the focus on trophic organization and the influence of physicochemical characteristics on trophic dynamics. Finally, interpretation of anthropogenic disturbance (e.g., nutrients) within the context of long-term climate change is a refreshing departure from previous studies that fail to consider these important interactions… This is an incredibly powerful story of how three very different systems that are influenced by different combinations of anthropogenic stressors responded to long-term changes in climate."
—Will Clements, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, USA

"A comprehensive science book based on 45 years of Gulf Coast research at Florida State University, this volume documents the long-term effects of climate change on rivers, estuaries, and coasts (where both most wildlife and most human beings live). The first half of the book gives a technical narrative review of the issues. It looks at how climate change affects the severity of human impacts on coastal environments, and the effects of eutrophication, which causes algal blooms and destroys fisheries. The second half of the book concentrates on the data, gathered over four decades at locales including Apalachee Bay, the Appalachicola River and Estuary, and Pensacola Estuary. A final chapter in this otherwise technical book looks at omissions and misrepresentations of the facts by regional news media in the Gulf Coast area. The book's conclusions are concise: after an unprecedented synthesis of decades of rigorous biological, chemical, geological, and weather study, the results show that healthy resource-based regional economies depend on conservation planning, and they cannot be easily restored if ecological damage is done. The model of success in this study, the Appalachicola Estuary, is losing its fisheries due to the results of climate change, and action based on an informed knowledge of climate change is needed to respond and prevent further damage. Constant misrepresentation of the facts of conservation economics and climate change is doing serious harm to both wildlife and people in the Gulf Coast."
Ringgold, Inc. Book News, February 2015