HRI hypoxia study in bay largest yet

By HRI Newsletter
Summer 2009

HRI is located on the shores of Corpus Christi Bay. The close proximity of the HRI research laboratories to the bay makes its waters a natural field study location for HRI research. This summer, HRI PhD candidate Kevin Nelson and his advisor, HRI Endowed Chair Paul Montagna, ran the largest-scale event in lab history by testing the bay waters around HRI for hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when the dissolved oxygen in a body of water is reduced, which can be detrimental to aerobic organisms. The scientists’ hypothesis was that hypoxia is related to the bathymetry or the bottom composition of the bay – that manmade features on the bottom of Corpus Christi Bay (dredge material) create basins that constrain saline water and keep bottom water from circulating, which can contribute to the onset of hypoxia. To test the hypothesis, researchers made continuous observations using datasondes and current profilers at five locations in and between the basins. The equipment for this field campaign was funded by a National Science Foundation grant written by Montagna and Dr. Lee Smee. cle6.html