Sewage pollution: mitigation is key for coral reef stewardship


Stephanie Wear and Rebecca Vega Thurber

Publication Year:



Wear, Stephanie L., and Rebecca Vega Thurber. “Sewage Pollution: Mitigation Is Key for Coral Reef Stewardship: Sewage Pollution and Coral Reef Stewardship.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1355, no. 1 (October 2015): 15–30.


Coral reefs are in decline worldwide, and land-derived sources of pollution, including sewage, are a major force driving that deterioration. This review presents evidence that sewage discharge occurs in waters surrounding at least 104 of 112 reef geographies. Studies often refer to sewage as a single stressor. However, this study shows that it is more accurately characterized as a multiple stressor.Many of the individual agents found within sewage, specifically freshwater, inorganic nutrients, pathogens, endocrine disrupters, suspended solids, sediments, and heavy metals, can severely impair coral growth and/or reproduction.

See related content: