Estuaries

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 617–633

Paleoecological evidence of human impacts on the Neuse and Pamlico estuaries of North Carolina, USA

  • Sherri Rumer Cooper
  • Sunghea Kim McGlothlin
  • Michael Madritch
  • Daniel L. Jones
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF02907649

Cite this article as:
Cooper, S.R., McGlothlin, S.K., Madritch, M. et al. Estuaries (2004) 27: 617. doi:10.1007/BF02907649
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Abstract

Sediment cores were collected from the Neuse and Pamlico River estuaries, North Carolina, at seven different sites, and the data show strong anthropogenic influence on water quality. The sediments from these cores were dated using210Pb,137Cs,14C, and pollen horizon techniques. Specific parameters investigated include bulk density, sedimentation rates, diatom assemblage changes, nutrient and trace metal flux, and vegetation changes as recorded in the pollen record. The greatest increases in sedimentation, nutrient and metal flux and changes in diatom assemblages have occurred in the past 50–60 yr in the Pamlico and Neuse. Diatom diversity has decreased and small planktonic forms have become dominant over time, most likely due to eutrophication and increased turbidity and sedimentation. Major changes occur before phytoplankton surveys and monitoring were initiated. Overall trends are similar to those found in Chesapeake Bay, although the time frame of major changes is more recent. Dominant small planktonic diatom species differ between Chesapeake Bay and the Neuse and Pamlico. Variance in paleoecological indicators between these mid-Atlantic estuaries may be due to geomorphology and land use history.

Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherri Rumer Cooper
    • 1
  • Sunghea Kim McGlothlin
    • 1
  • Michael Madritch
    • 1
  • Daniel L. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke University Wetland Center, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth SciencesDuke UniversityDurham
  2. 2.Bryn Athyn CollegeBryn Athyn
  3. 3.Greenberg Farrow ArchitectureArlington Heights
  4. 4.Department of EntomologyUniversity of WisconsinMadison
  5. 5.Graham