nomenon (Lancelot et al. 1998). Other examples include the fish killing blooms of Chattonella species, which have caused millions of dollars of damage in the Seto Inland Sea, though the frequency and severity of these outbreaks has decreased since pollution loading was reduced and eutrophication abated somewhat (Okaichi 1997).
Another frequently cited example of the potential linkage between HABs and pollution involves the recently discovered “phantom” dinoflagellate Pfiesteria. In North Carolina estuaries and in the Chesapeake Bay, this organism has been linked to massive fish kills and to a variety of human health effects, including severe learning and memory problems (Burkholder and Glasgow 1997). A strong argument is being made that nutrient pollution is a major stimulant to outbreaks of Pfiesteria or Pfiesteria-like organisms because the organism and associated fish kills have occurred in watersheds that are heavily polluted by hog and chicken farms and by municipal sewage. The mechanism for the stimulation appears to be two-fold. First, Pfiesteria is able to take up and use some of the dissolved organic nutrients in waste directly (Burkholder and Glasgow 1997). Second, this adaptable organism can consume algae that have grown more abundant from nutrient over-enrichment. Even though the link between Pfiesteria outbreaks and nutrient pollution has not been fully proven, the evidence is strong enough that legislation is already in various stages of development and adoption to restrict the operations of hog and chicken farms in order to reduce nutrient loadings in adjacent watersheds. Pfiesteria has thus provided the justification needed by some agencies to address serious and long-standing pollution discharges by nonpoint sources, which heretofore have avoided regulation.
Many coastal waters are shallow enough that benthic plant communities can contribute significantly to autotrophic production if sufficient light penetrates the water column to the seafloor. In areas of low nutrient inputs, dense populations of seagrasses and perennial macroalgae (including kelp beds) can attain rates of net primary production that are as high as the most productive terrestrial ecosystems (Charpy-Roubaud and Sournia 1990). These perennial macrophytes are less dependent on water column nutrient levels than phytoplankton and ephemeral macroalgae, and light availability is usually the most important factor controlling their growth (Sand-Jensen and Borum 1991; Dennison et al. 1993; Duarte 1995). As a result, nutrient enrichment rarely stimulates these macrophyte populations, but instead causes a shift to phytoplankton or bloom-forming benthic macroalgae as the main autotrophs. Fast-growing micro- and