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FSU Research Shows Oxygen Levels in the Ocean Are Declining

August 16th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Governor Rick Scott announced major gains in tourism today.
A record setting 60.7 million visitors came to the sunshine State in the first six months of this year, but FSU researchers say one of the states biggest draws, our ocean and gulf waters, are facing a challenge.
94-million years ago ocean life took a major hit due to a 50,000 year decline in oxygen levels in the water.
At the time it was caused by a spike in volcanic activity which dumped carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Now it appears the same thing is happening again only FSU researchers say mankind has taken over the role of producing the carbon dioxide.
“Over the last 50 years we’ve had about a 2% loss of oxygen in our oceans and so if you sort of multiply that by the next 50,000 years,” said Jermey Owens, an assistant Geology Professor at FSU who helped write the study.
50,000 years may sound like a long ways away, but the number isn’t set in stone.
“We’ve never had an increase in CO2 as quickly as we quickly as we have… and so these things could be expanding much more rapidly,” said Owens.
CO2 isn’t the only culprit behind the problem. Fertilizers and nutrients from humans also contribute to declining oxygen levels, the effects of which can be seen in our own state.
“These nutrients that we sort of end up releasing near our coastlines cause red tides. One of the major impacts of these red tides is not just the toxic release of different compounds that they do, but also that theres actually a major draw down on oxygen and we’ve seen this,” said Owens.
For Florida to reduce its contributions to ocean deoxgenation researchers say the state needs to make a greater commitment to renewable energy, reduce pollution from fertilizers and increase efforts to protect the state’s wetlands, which help replenish oxygen levels in the water.
According to the most recent statistics Ocean tourism contributed $8 billion to Florida’s economy.

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