Drifter or Homebody? Study First to Show Where Whitespotted Eagle Rays Roam

It’s made for long-distance travel, yet movement patterns of the whitespotted eagle ray remain a mystery. Between 2016 and 2018, scientists fitted 54 rays with acoustic transmitters and tracked them along both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts of Florida, which differ in environmental characteristics. Results of the study reveal striking differences in travel patterns on the Atlantic coast compared to the Gulf coast. Findings have significant conservation and adaptive management implications for this protected species.

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The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Continues to “Embrace the Gulf” Through Action in 2021

Building on the success of the “Embrace the Gulf” 2020 campaign, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance is continuing the initiative this year with a new focus on improving the health of the Gulf. This year’s goal is to turn awareness into action through easy steps that make a difference in coastal communities, habitats, and wildlife.

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Restoring wetlands near farms would dramatically reduce water pollution

Study examines the positive effects of wetlands on water quality and the potential for using wetland restoration as a key strategy for improving water quality, particularly in the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico regions

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Gulf of Mexico Mission: ‘Ocean Blue Holes Are Not Created Equal’

Scientists recently got a unique glimpse into the “Green Banana” Blue Hole thanks to gutsy divers and a 500-pound autonomous, benthic lander. Together with hand-picked, elite scuba divers, the research team is unraveling the structure and behavior of these marine environments by examining geochemistry, hydrodynamics, and biology. Findings from this exploration also may have important implications for phytoplankton in the Gulf of Mexico, including blooms of the Florida Red-tide species Karenia brevis.

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Heavy rainfall drives a third of nitrogen runoff, according to new study

Extreme rain events that occur on nine days a year drive around a third of all nitrogen yields on farmland in the Mississippi River basin, according to a new study. The research could inform how and when farmers apply nitrogen fertilizer to their fields and has environmental implications for the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

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FSU researchers track nutrient transport in the Gulf of Mexico

Researchers from Florida State University found no evidence that nitrate from the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River System is mixing across the Northern Gulf shelf into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The findings are consistent with recent modeling work by fellow scientists that indicates 90 percent of Mississippi River nutrients are retained in the near-shore ecosystem, which implies that nutrients from the Mississippi River do not leave the Gulf.

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Study First to Show Tiger Sharks’ Travels and Desired Hangouts in the Gulf of Mexico

Using sophisticated satellite telemetry, a study is the first to provide unique insights into how tiger sharks move and use habitats in the Gulf of Mexico across life-stages. Data provide an important baseline for comparison against, and/or predicting their vulnerability to future environmental change such as climate variability or oil spills.

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A New Look at Deep-Sea Microbes

Microbes found deeper in the ocean are believed to have slow population turnover rates and low amounts of available energy. But microbial communities found deeper in seafloor sediments and around hydrocarbon seepage sites have now been found to have more energy available and a higher population turnover. Deeper sediments in the seepages are most likely heavily impacted by the material coming up from the bottom, which means that the seep could be supporting a larger amount of biomass than previously thought.

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