Identifying nutrient sources to three lagoons at Ofu and Olosega, American Samoa using δ15N of benthic macroalgae

Marine Pollution Bulletin
By: , and 



Degradation of nearshore habitats is a serious problem in some areas of American Samoa, such as in Pago Pago Harbor on Tutuila Island, and is a smaller but chronic problem in other areas. Sedimentation, pollution, nutrient enrichment from surface runoff or groundwater, and trampling are the major factors causing the changes (Peshut and Brooks, 2005). On the outer islands of Ofu and Olosega (Manu’a Islands; Fig. 1), there is an interesting contrast between relatively pristine lagoon habitats not far from comparatively degraded lagoon habitats. To’aga lagoon on the southeast side of Ofu Island (Fig. 1) has clear waters, a high diversity of corals and fishes, no human habitations, and an undeveloped watershed with no streams. To’aga lagoon is within the boundaries of the National Park of American Samoa and is the site of long-term research on coral reef resilience and global climate change. Only 3 km to the east of To’aga is a degraded lagoon that fronts Olosega Village. The Olosega lagoon is similar in size but has significantly less live coral than To’aga, and blooms of filamentous algae have been reported to cover the Olosega lagoon/reef flat bottom (unpublished data, PC; Fig. 2). The islands are influenced by the same regional-scale and biogeochemical regimes, and both islands are remnants of a volcanic caldera (Craig, 2005). Thus, local factors operating on the scale of a kilometer or less are thought to be driving the differences observed between lagoons. Land disturbance is limited to a road linking the villages, the clearing of vegetation for buildings, and two village dump sites located on the narrow strip of land between the steep slopes of the islands and the shoreline; there is no industry or associated pollution on either island. Cesspools are used for sewage disposal. Nutrient enrichment (from cesspools) of groundwater and the lagoon, as well as trampling during gleaning of reef organisms, are possible factors affecting the spatial relief and benthic composition of the lagoons. A pristine lagoon site (To’aga) and two that may be influenced by adjacent human populations (Ofu and Olosega Villages) were selected for study.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Identifying nutrient sources to three lagoons at Ofu and Olosega, American Samoa using δ15N of benthic macroalgae
Series title Marine Pollution Bulletin
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2007.08.016
Volume 54
Issue 11
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 1830
Last page 1838
Country United States
State American Samoa
Other Geospatial Ofu, Olosega
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytics Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details