The Role of Particulate Matter in the Development of Hypoxia on the Texas-Louisiana Shelf
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In the northern Gulf of Mexico, hypoxia occurs annually during the summer on the Texas-Louisiana shelf. This study examines the distribution of particulate and dissolved components relative to hydrography, to better understand the processes controlling the development of hypoxia. Particulate matter on the Texas-Louisiana Shelf has three major sources – river plumes, primary production, and resuspended sediments. The sources and processes controlling distribution and transport of particles are investigated using optical proxies (backscattering, chlorophyll fluorescence, Colored Dissolved Organic Matter fluorescence (CDOM)), temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), and in-situ sampling during June and August 2011 cruises of the Mechanisms Controlling Hypoxia program (hypoxia.tamu.edu). Discrete samples of particulate matter (PM) and particulate organic carbon (POC) concentration were obtained for analysis and calibration of optical instruments interfaced with a profiling CTD, a towed undulating CTD (Acrobat), and the ship’s flow-through system along the shelf from south of Galveston, Texas, to east of the Mississippi delta. The results of this study support a previously hypothesized concept of three primary areas of organic and inorganic particle composition and processes that dominate those areas – river-dominated water, highly productive surface waters, and clear, nutrient-poor low-productivity surface waters. The distribution and bulk composition of particulate matter in the northern Gulf of Mexico, plus the distribution of chlorophyll fluorescence and CDOM suggest that subpycnocline primary production plays a role in determining oxygen concentration in subpycnocline waters away from the river-dominated water.
Northern Gulf of Mexico
Cochran, Emma Mary (2013). The Role of Particulate Matter in the Development of Hypoxia on the Texas-Louisiana Shelf. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from