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Weekly News: August 2005

August 26, 2005

August 26 , 2005


Low Oxygen Waters and Marine Mortalities Mapped off Florida Coast

With funds from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, scientists from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute mapped an area about 10 miles off the west coast of Florida where bottom-dwelling organisms, fish, and turtles died, and low oxygen had been observed in previous weeks. The large area of low oxygen waters was associated with high abundance of Karenia brevis, a toxic alga that frequently blooms in that area. The algal bloom began in January, resulted in manatee deaths in March, and has persisted in localized areas through the summer. It is hypothesized that part of the bloom became trapped below a strong thermocline and killed some organisms which decomposed and depleted the bottom water oxygen, which then killed more organisms. It took about 18 months for fish populations to recover after a similar event occurred in 1971. For more information, contact


Dolphins to Benefit from Third Year of Health Studies

From August 2-10, scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science captured and released 21 dolphins in the coastal waters near Charleston, South Carolina in hopes of identifying health threats to dolphins and links to possible environmental stressors. From 2003-2005, over 200 dolphins have been captured near Charleston and in Indian River Lagoon, Florida to assess their health. Data from this year’s study will contribute to the growing body of evidence that dolphins from Indian River Lagoon exhibit high incidence of infectious diseases such as lobomycosis and papilloma virus, while Charleston dolphins exhibit elevated body burdens of contaminants. This research is being conducted in collaboration with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution researchers, collection specialists, and marine mammal experts. For more information, contact


National Marine Sanctuaries Launches Online Marine Life Field Guide

NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program has unveiled a new, innovative, online resource that highlights the diverse marine life of America's ocean and Great Lakes treasures. The Encyclopedia of the Sanctuaries is available online and is part of a continuing NOAA effort to enhance public awareness, understanding and appreciation of the ocean environment. This online field guide provides photos, streaming video and important biological information for over 100 marine species from each of the national marine sanctuaries in the United States. The Encyclopedia of the Sanctuaries is currently featured on the NOAA Web site and can be accessed at Contact


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