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Released January 17, 2003

GULF "DEAD ZONE" EXPERT TO SPEAK JAN. 29

OCEAN SPRINGS – Dr. Nancy Rabalais has been studying the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone" for a more than a decade and she'll share her research findings during a Jan. 29 seminar at The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

The presentation – another in a series of Wednesday sessions focusing on the health of gulf estuaries and fisheries – will take place from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at GCRL's Caylor Auditorium. Lunch and informal discussions with the speaker will take place from noon-1 p.m.

Rabalais, a scientist for the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, is considered a leading expert on the gulf's dead zone, an area off the Louisiana coast in which the oxygen level is too low to support marine life.

"The area of depleted oxygen occurs in coastal waters off Louisiana during the late summer, sometimes reaching the size of a small state," a GCRL researcher explained. "The lack of dissolved oxygen kills organisms unable to leave the area, and the oxygen-starved water forces more mobile animals to move to other habitats."

The GCRL Wednesday sessions are scheduled through April as a part of a Southern Miss graduate course offered by the Department of Coastal Sciences and the university's Center for Fisheries Research and Development at the Ocean Springs laboratory site. Coastal sciences students will close the course April 30 with a mock trial on the issue: "Should the Gulf of Mexico be declared a no-take zone?"

The department, the center and GCRL are part of the College of Marine Sciences, the university's provider of marine research, education and service. Interested individuals may register for the seminar by calling Dale Fremin at (228) 872-4256. The $5 registration fee includes a brown-bag lunch.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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