Record storm puts gulf resilience to the test

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Science  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 954
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.954

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Because of unprecedented hurricane-related rainfall in southeastern Texas last week, the Gulf of Mexico and its bountiful offshore ecosystems are contending with the record-setting pulse of freshwater—a volume of water exceeding the entire Chesapeake Bay—that surged off the land, sweeping along sediment, nutrients, and pollutants. Marine creatures that live along the coast are used to dramatic swings in salinity, sedimentation, and other conditions, and studies have found populations can bounce back from extreme events. But Hurricane Harvey is unlike any past test of the gulf's resilience, and researchers are jump-starting studies to document the aftermath, building on baseline data from existing research projects, some of which have been underway for decades.