GULF OF MEXICO — Researchers predict the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” an underwater area with little or no oxygen, will be unusually large this year. But it’s unknown how the oil spill will affect it.
Government-funded scientists expect a zone measuring 6,500 to 7,800 square miles — about the size of New Jersey.
Over the past five years, it’s averaged 6,000 square miles.
The prediction comes from measurements of nutrient flows in the Mississippi River, which pours farm waste into the Gulf. Those nutrients stimulate excessive growth of algae that is broken down by oxygen-sucking bacteria.
University of Michigan ecologist Donald Scavia says the BP spill could make the dead zone larger because microbes gobble oxygen when consuming oil. But the effect could be offset if the oil limits algae growth.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info