Coral reefs continue to experience extreme environmental pressure from climate change stressors, but many coral reefs are also exposed to eutrophication. It has been proposed that changes in the stoichiometry of ambient nutrients increase the mortality of corals, whereas eutrophication may facilitate phase shifts to macroalgae-dominated coral reefs when herbivory is low or absent. But are corals ever nutrient limited, and can eutrophication destabilize the coral symbiosis making it more sensitive to environmental stress because of climate change? The effects of eutrophication are confounded not just by the effects of climate change but by the presence of chemical pollutants in industrial, urban, and agricultural wastes. Because of these confounding effects, the increases in nutrients or changes in their stoichiometry in coastal environments, although they are important at the organismal and community level, cannot currently be disentangled from each other or from the more significant effects of climate change stressors on coral reefs.

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