Sunday, September 26, 2010

NOAA Grant: Hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay

NOAA has awarded a team of researchers, led by the Smithsonian Institution, $634,047 as part of a planned five-year grant, estimated at nearly $1.6 million, to predict the impact of hypoxia on commercially and ecologically important finfish and oysters living in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Results of this study will help Bay area officials pinpoint key areas for habitat and fisheries restoration, and better protect shallow water habitat that serves a critical nursery function.

Hypoxia is a condition in which dissolved oxygen in the water becomes too low to support most life or compromises the growth, reproduction and immune responses of organisms. Although hypoxia can occur naturally, it is often worsened or caused by excess nutrients from human activities such as agriculture and the burning of fossil fuels. 

The research team, led by Denise Breitburg, Ph.D., of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, includes scientists from the University of Delaware and Louisiana State University who will collaborate closely with state and federal management agencies, including NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office, EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.

First-year funding has been awarded to the University of Delaware ($246,844), Louisiana State University ($74,834) and the Smithsonian Institution’s Environmental Research Center in Maryland ($312,369).

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