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Hypoxia Zone: Modeling Stratified Waters

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Sampling of aquatic microorganisms reveals a surprising feature of many open water systems - stratification.

Students can model the effects of reducing nutrient loads to surface waters on microbial populations and oxygen levels within the Mississippi River basin and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Zone.

Planktonic and benthic microbes occupy distinct zones in stratified water columns. Explore how the benthic consumer populations respond to environmental cues such as changes in sunlight, wind effects, or increases in organics due to pollution with the model HypoxiaZone.

Although hypoxia zones are natural phenomena, increasing pollution from human activities and natural events is affecting the size and persistence of these zones in ways that threaten to disrupt the natural ecology of the systems.