Smithsonian to Begin Research on Low Oxygen Levels in the Bay


By Nicole Dao
Capital News service
The Smithsonian and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have teamed up to begin research on low oxygen levels in the Chesapeake Bay starting this winter.
The project will try to understand the causes of hypoxia, low oxygen levels, and what impacts it has on natural resources such as fisheries, said Alan Lewitus of the NOAA National Centers for Coast to Ocean Science.
Denise Breitburg, senior scientist for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, said information from the research will be used to map out how low oxygen levels affect the bay's food web and fisheries as a whole.
Along with Breitburg, TimothyTargett, a marine biosciences professor at the University of Delaware and Kenneth A. Rose, a professor at the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University, will be conducting laboratory and field work experiments starting early next summer to observe the effects of day and night swings in oxygen levels on oysters, and how low oxygen levels affect growth rate and behavior in fish populations.
Low levels of oxygen can be caused by pollutants such as fertilizer, manure and power plant emissions.