Home2018-07-20T14:30:12+00:00

2018 Shelfwide Cruise

Cruise Dedication

The 2018 shelf-wide cruise to determine the extent of low oxygen bottom waters on the Louisiana-Texas continental shelf is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Wesley J. Tunnell, Jr. who passed away on Saturday, July 14, 2018, after a long successful and not successful battle with cancer. Wes was a founding member of the Seven and One-Half Fathom Reef research team, students of Dr. Alan H. Chaney of Texas A&I University, Kingsville, who studied a Pleistocene reef off south Padre Island as a hotspot of biodiversity. This group includes Wes, Tom Shirley, Billy Causey, Darryl Felder, Jim Davis, Don Harper and Nancy Rabalais. I hope I have not forgotten anyone. We all continue in Gulf of Mexico and other areas of marine science, and will continue to do so, just as Wes continued in his quest for research and conservation that would benefit the whole Gulf of Mexico. I have been conducting these summer hypoxia surveys and other investigations since 1985. This summer of 2018 represents our 33rd year of studying low oxygen in the Gulf of Mexico, but not as long as I have known Wes as a leader in focusing on the health of the Gulf of Mexico. May he and the rest of us reach our Jimmy Buffet challenge of responding to the call of our mother ocean.

Click here for an article about Wes.
Click here for his obituary.

Click here for more cruise details

What is hypoxia?

Hypoxia, or low oxygen, is an environmental phenomenon where the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water column decreases to a level that can no longer support living aquatic organisms. Hypoxic areas, or “Dead Zones,” have increased in duration and frequency across our planet’s oceans since first being noted in the 1970s.

The largest hypoxic zone currently affecting the United States, and the second largest hypoxic zone worldwide, is the northern Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Mississippi River.

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Gulf hypoxia in the news:

  • Iowa's contribution to Mississippi River basin nitrate levels. (Photo: Lyndsey Nielsen/USA Today Network)

Iowa must clean up its mess in the Gulf. Current funding, voluntary efforts aren’t enough.

June 28th, 2018|Comments Off on Iowa must clean up its mess in the Gulf. Current funding, voluntary efforts aren’t enough.

Iowa's contribution to Mississippi River basin nitrate levels. (Photo: Lyndsey Nielsen/USA Today Network) Register Editorial Board / Des Moines Register June 28, 2018 Iowa Natural Resources Trust offers best solution to reduce farm [...]

  • A diver observes filamentous algae, locally known as thanatos, at La Ciotat in the Mediterranean sea, on July 4, 2015. Recent global warming has caused a major algal bloom on the seabed, suffocating flora and causing important biodiversity changes. Boris Horvat / AFP / Getty Images

Area of Global Dead Zones Doubling Every 10 Years

June 25th, 2018|Comments Off on Area of Global Dead Zones Doubling Every 10 Years

A diver observes filamentous algae, locally known as thanatos, at La Ciotat in the Mediterranean sea, on July 4, 2015. Recent global warming has caused a major algal bloom on the seabed, suffocating flora [...]

Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’ expected to be larger than Connecticut this summer, scientists say

June 7th, 2018|Comments Off on Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’ expected to be larger than Connecticut this summer, scientists say

Steve Hardy / The Advocate June 7, 2018 Once again, the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" must be measured in the size of a U.S. state. LSU scientists predict this summer's iteration will exceed the [...]

Guest column: A call for help on Dead Zone

June 7th, 2018|Comments Off on Guest column: A call for help on Dead Zone

Doug Daigle / The Advocate June 7, 2018 2018 has become a pivotal year for the long-standing problem of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone, commonly known as the “Dead Zone.” The large area of [...]

Scientists Predict Average Dead Zone, But 3x Long-Term Goal

June 7th, 2018|Comments Off on Scientists Predict Average Dead Zone, But 3x Long-Term Goal

Associated Press / The Times-Tribune June 7, 2018 Federal scientists are predicting an average dead zone this summer in the Gulf of Mexico. But they note that this would still be three times greater than [...]

  • This chart, published in the April 12, 2018, PLOS One journal, shows the Iowa portion of the total water discharge (blue bars), nitrate load (green bars) and land area (red line) in the Mississipi-Atchfalaya River Basin (MARB, Upper Mississippi River basin (UMRB), and Missouri River Basin (MoRB) from 1999 to 2016.

Study: Iowa ‘main contributor to nitrate loads’

June 4th, 2018|Comments Off on Study: Iowa ‘main contributor to nitrate loads’

This chart, published in the April 12, 2018, PLOS One journal, shows the Iowa portion of the total water discharge (blue bars), nitrate load (green bars) and land area (red line) in the Mississipi-Atchfalaya [...]

  • Researchers are offering different explanations for changing ocean oxygen concentrations rather than appreciating multiple causality. Credit: raiPR (CC0)

Multiple Choices Exist for Changing Ocean Oxygen Concentrations

May 14th, 2018|Comments Off on Multiple Choices Exist for Changing Ocean Oxygen Concentrations

Researchers are offering different explanations for changing ocean oxygen concentrations rather than appreciating multiple causality. Credit: raiPR (CC0) Peter Brewer / Eos May 14, 2018 Widespread declines in ocean oxygen concentrations are now [...]