Assessment of acidification and eutrophication in the coastal waters of Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mary Chris Tentia Lagumen and Maria Lourdes San Diego-McGlone, Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Metro Manila, Philippines
Ocean acidification is becoming a global concern due to its potential effects on marine resources. In coastal areas, an emerging problem is ocean acidicification due to eutrophication resulting from human activities. The coastal water of Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines has become eutrophic due to increased nutrient loading from unconsumed fish feeds in fish cages. Mariculture is a big industry in Bolinao. In over a decade, the area has experienced decreased oxygen levels leading to hypoxia, fish kills, and algal blooms. The decomposition of organic matter from unconsumed fish feeds results not only to high nutrient buildup but also increased CO2 and acidity in the area. Nutrients (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and silicate), total alkalinity (TA), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), aragonite saturation state (Ωarg) and partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) were measured to determine the combined effect of acidification and eutrophication in Bolinao. Monitoring results have shown an increase in nutrients by 30% to 70% in over a decade. Stratified water during rainy season have resulted in low DO (<5.5) and acidic water (<7.5) with high pCO2 level (>900 µatm). Shallow stations with poor water circulation have shown undersaturated aragonite state (< 2.0) and high pCO2 levels of 800 matm. The eutrophic and acidified coastal waters of Bolinao are already affecting the seagrass and coral reef ecosystems in the area.