Symposium Summary: Inland Drivers of Coastal Hypoxia

hypoxia-symp-figure-blueprint-map-gwhiteSponsors: Fish Habitat, Marine Fisheries, and Estuaries Sections

A symposium jointly sponsored by the Fish Habitat, Marine Fisheries, and Estuaries Sections explored how inland land use decisions relate to hypoxia in coastal areas. Hypoxia, thermal extremes, coastal acidification, and contaminants affect three taxa with distinct life histories, ecologies, and positions in the inshore community. Cycling of redox-sensitive elements such as manganese in hypoxic zones can reconstruct lifetime hypoxia exposure in otoliths of mobile fish. Lake Erie has strong productivity gradients caused by nutrient distribution which may affect trophic levels. Tools can help prioritize and manage conservation actions. The first real-time web-based forecast allows farmers to avoid applying nutrients before significant runoff events. The Gulf Hypoxia Initiative, spearheaded by seven Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), is an objectives-driven strategy for targeting conservation across the Mississippi Basin. Which practices are adopted and why may differ by location and climate drivers. Cellulosic biofuels and reconnecting oxbows may produce energy, mitigate flooding, and protect habitat and water-quality. Audience discussion reflected on landscape factors such as climate change and socioeconomic conditions that drive the causes and consequences of hypoxia. Additional dialogue between sectors will be necessary to ensure that our conservation actions generate the greatest possible impact for a sustainable and multifunctional working landscape.

—Gwen White, Eastern Tallgrass Prairie & Big Rivers LCC, gwen_white@fws.gov

Read the symposium abstracts here.