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Dead ZonesThe Loss of Oxygen from Rivers, Lakes, Seas, and the Ocean$
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David L. Kirchman

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197520376

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197520376.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 September 2021

Coastal Dead Zones in the Past

Coastal Dead Zones in the Past

(p.36) 3 Coastal Dead Zones in the Past
Dead Zones

David L. Kirchman

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the dead zones of coastal areas: specifically the Gulf of Mexico and Europe’s Adriatic and Baltic Seas. Scientists were able to eliminate sewage from the list of ingredients that make a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and other coastal regions, but there was still the possibility that the loss of oxygen was natural. It wasn’t clear when the dead zone rose in the Gulf and the Baltic Sea. Systematic monitoring of dissolved oxygen in the Gulf, led by Nancy Rabalais, once called “Queen of the Dead Zone,” started only in 1986, so scientists have had to use indirect ways to deduce oxygen levels in the past. Studies using foraminifera (“forams”) and other oxygen-sensitive indices found that the proliferation of the Gulf dead zone and others started around 1950. Both the Gulf and the Baltic experienced low oxygen levels in the 19th century or earlier, but hypoxia became more common and more extensive in the middle of the 20th century.

Keywords:   foraminifera, Nancy Rabalais, Adriatic Sea, New Orleans, Don Boesch, paleooceanography

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