Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Mathematics and Statistics
Shayne Boykin - Southern University at New Orleans
Co-Author(s): Co-Author(s): Yi Zhen, Southern University at New Orleans, LA; Phyllis Okwan, Southern University at New Orleans, LA; Huan Feng, Montclair State University, NJ; Shinjae Yoo, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY
The hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico is the largest in the United States of America and yields serious environmental and economic concerns. The development of a hypoxic zone is associated with an excess of nutrients; therefore, understanding the pattern of changes in the nutrient loads from the Mississippi River to the northern Gulf of Mexico is essential. The data used in this research was collected by the United States Geological Survey from the Mississippi River in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Agricultural practices, population growth along the river, and increased industrialization are the main contributors to the change in water quality and nutrient concentration of the mainstem Mississippi River basin. This research examined the variations in nutrient loads of nitrite plus nitrate (NO2-+NO3-), and total phosphorus (TP) for the mainstem Mississippi River Basin at Saint Francisville, LA. Statistical methods were used to analyze the annual and seasonal patterns of nutrient loads of nitrite plus nitrate (NO2-+NO3-), and total phosphorus (TP) in the river. The results indicate that annually, the mean nutrient loads for NO2-+NO3- peaked after major hydrological events. Seasonally, the mean loads of NO2-+NO3- were found to be higher in the spring and summer months than that of autumn and winter, whereas the mean loads of TP were higher in the spring and winter than summer and autumn. Understanding these patterns and their effects on hypoxic conditions are essential to protecting the marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico and other bodies of water that are affected by nutrient pollution.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This research project is sponsored by Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program ? Capacity Competitiveness Enhancement Model (MSEIP-CCEM; Grant #P120A160047).
Faculty Advisor: Yi Zhen, YZhen@suno.edu
Role: I collected nutrient load data from various sources, including the USGS and USDA, and statistically analyzed the variations amongst the data to identify significant patterns and trends.