Scientists Research Aquatic Phenomenon To Prevent Death of Marine LifeBy Evelina Burnett | Published 08 Jul 2013 10:23am |
Marine scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi are studying low oxygen levels in the waters south of the barrier islands, including some popular fishing reefs known as hypoxia.
The waters off the coast of Mississippi are teeming with life – fish, shrimp, crab, oysters. But in the heat of summer, there are pockets here of what scientists call hypoxia . Southern Miss professor Charlotte Brunner says the oxygen in these areas is so low that marine life can’t survive in it.
The data proved the fishermen right. The problem is worse in rainy years. Heavy rains push nutrient-filled river freshwater into the salty gulf, where it floats at the surface. Southern Miss professor Stephen Howden says these are some of the factors that can lead to low oxygen levels on the sea floor.
Professor Brunner says the effects of hypoxia can be lasting on these marine communities.
Howden says low oxygen isn’t common in shallow waters near shore, but it can happen there too. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources says low oxygen contributed to a recent fish kill on the coast that pushed thousands of dead fish onto shore.
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