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14.11: Physical Factors - Environmental Stability

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    Environmental Stability

    The open ocean is generally a very stable environment compared to shallow and nearshore environments where the factors listed above may vary wildly with weather changes and other natural and artificial causes, both physical or biological in nature. Destabilizing forces include the impacts of superstorms, undersea landslides (causing turbidity flows), and hypoxia. Reefs and coastal ecosystems can be destroyed by the effects of hurricanes, but like wildfire on land, sea life can and will re-establish itself if the physical factors (described above) normalize. Coastal communities
    (ecosystems) can be heavily damaged by superstorms, but many species have evolved means to adapt to occasional events, and even take advantage of the aftermath.

    Hurricane Katrina
    Figure 14.18. Hurricane Katrina
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