Cooper, S.R., S.K. McGlothlin, M. Madritch, and D.L. Jones.  2004.  Paleoecological evidence of human impacts on the Neuse and Pamlico estuaries of North Carolina, USA.  Estuaries 27:617-633.

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 using 210Pb, 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 Neuse and Pamlico.  Variance in paleoecological indicators between these mid-Atlantic estuaries may be due to geomorphology and land use history.


Reproduced with permission from the Estuarine Research Federation

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