Nutrient Enrichment Drives Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia

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Abstract

During most summers over the past 30 years, bottom dissolved oxygen across a large area of the Louisiana and upper Texas continental shelf declined to concentrations too low (hypoxia) for most fish and large invertebrate animals to survive. This area is one of the best known “dead zones” proliferating around the world [Diaz and Rosenberg, 2008]. During July 2008, hypoxic bottom waters extended across 20,720 square kilometers (Figure 1), but they were probably even more extensive because winds from Hurricane Dolly mixed the waters off Texas before the survey could be completed.

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