Chesapeake Bay Anoxia: Origin, Development, and Significance

Science  06 Jan 1984:
Vol. 223, Issue 4631, pp. 22-27
DOI: 10.1126/science.223.4631.22


Anoxia occurs annually in deeper waters of the central portion of the Chesapeake Bay and presently extends from Baltimore to the mouth of the Potomac estuary. This condition, which encompasses some 5 billion cubic meters of water and lasts from May to September, is the result of increased stratification of the water column in early spring, with consequent curtailment of reoxygenation of the bottom waters across the halocline, and benthic decay of organic detritus accumulated from plankton blooms of the previous summer and fall. The Chesapeake Bay anoxia appears to have had significant ecological effects on many marine species, including several of economic importance.

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