Laure Resplandy to Lead a Project to Explore the Risk of Permanent Coastal Dead Zones in the Tropical Indian Ocean

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018

In the tropical Indian Ocean, the natural oxygen minimum zone (OMZ), when combined with global warming and agricultural runoff, triggers coastal "dead zones" in which near-zero levels of oxygen (O2) suffocate marine ecosystems and devastate local fisheries. AOS Faculty Member Laure Resplandy, assistant professor of geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute, will explore how natural processes precondition the Indian Ocean to very low coastal O2 levels; quantify the reinforcing role of anthropogenic activities such as river loadings; and evaluate the future risk of coastal dead zones in the region. Currently, uncertainties in the processes that create dead zones strongly limit scientists' ability to predict them and anticipate their impacts. This project will be the first to incorporate physical and biological processes at both local and global scales in order to understand and constrain the occurrence of coastal dead zones. Resplandy will combine ship- and float-based data from the Indian Ocean with a state-of-the-art global ocean model at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

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