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This year's dead zone biggest ever measured
from Staff Reports - NEWS
August 3, 2017 - ListenUpYall.com

This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest one yet. LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais says the oxygen-depleted region is about 8,800 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. She says many of the stations, especially those close to the shore, were close to no oxygen.

“That just means that there’s no longer that habitat that suitable for fish and shrimp and crabs and thins to live that depend on the bottom area,” Rabalais said.

Rabalais says the area may actually be even bigger, but they had to stop mapping before reaching the western edge. She says as a scientist, she’s worried about nutrient cycling in an area that’s not fully oxygenated. Practically speaking, she says it’s also a problem for shrimpers.

“The blockage of the migration is affecting growth of brown shrimp to a larger size that could then bring in a larger dollar value for those shrimp,” Rabalais said.

Rabalais says unfortunately the Gulf of Mexico is poised for dead zones. She says one problem is fresh water inflow that creates a layered system. That coupled with the nutrient-rich water coming down the Mississippi River from the Midwest creates a huge dead zone.

“It also brings in a lot of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous that lead to the growth of the phytoplankton that eventually sink to the bottom and are decomposed,” Rabalais said.

 

Story from Louisiana Radio Network.




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