Nitrate levels rising in northwestern Pacific

Changes in the ratio of nitrate to phosphorus in the oceans off the coasts of Korea and Japan caused by atmospheric and riverine pollutants may influence marine ecology and the makeup of marine plants, according to researchers from Korea and the U.S.

"Normally in a marine environment nitrate is the limiting factor, but increased nitrate in the ocean can spur growth and create a situation where phosphorus becomes the nutrient in short supply," said Raymond G. Najjar, professor of oceanography at Penn State. "This change in nutrients could favor organisms that are better suited for high nitrate and low phosphorus."

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