EPA conducts Gulf of Mexico hypoxia study

EPA's ocean survey vessel Peter W. Anderson is supporting a survey to describe the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Zone, June 9 - 23, 2003.

June 12, 2003 -- EPA's ocean survey vessel Peter W. Anderson is supporting a survey to describe the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Zone, June 9 - 23, 2003.

This ship will provide EPA scientists logistical and instrument support to conduct the study. The Anderson can host 15 scientists and provide a platform to conduct scientific operations over wide areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

The EPA Gulf of Mexico Program Office in partnership with the EPA Office of Research and Development and EPA Office of Water are leading the investigations of the Gulf of Mexico's inner shelf along coastal Louisiana and Texas which have documented the development of hypoxic bottom waters and the increasing size of the hypoxic zone over the past several decades.

The size of the hypoxic zone, defined as dissolved oxygen concentrations less than 2 mg per liter, varies from year-to-year but appears to be the largest known hypoxic zone in the waters of the U.S. The primary cause of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico has been identified as excessive nutrient loading associated with increased fertilizer use throughout the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri River Basin.

This survey will characterize the magnitude and variability in physical, chemical and biological parameters and processes in the water column and sediments along coastal Louisiana. The survey characterization is designed to provide new insight on oceanographic conditions during the development and expansion of hypoxia.

This survey is the third in a series of multi-year, seasonal monitoring surveys using the Anderson. The next survey is scheduled for November 2003. For more information contact Ken Potts, 202-566-1267.

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