Well the LiDZ group is heading out tomorrow evening. They are going to be looking at some different aspects of the Chesapeake Bay dead zone than we are in the DeZoZoo project. From my perspective as a zooplankton ecologist, they are looking at lower trophic levels, namely bacteria, but I’m sure they would give you much more of the story. One aspect of their project that is similar to our is that they are studying the progression of hypoxic and eventually anoxic water in the Bay. However, their means of addressing it is by using a “chrono-sequence”, meaning that because low oxygen water forms first in the north and progresses southward through the summer, they are able to take the spatial gradient in low oxygen water and use it as a chronology of what the water looks like. Put another way, the N-S gradient in oxygen is used as a “Dead Zone Time Machine” (I’ll apologize for the reference to a silly movie right up front) to look at how the bacterial communities and chemical signatures of the water change as the oxygen is removed. The samples along this gradient represent new low oxygen water (in the south) and old low oxygen water.
I’m sure there will be more of a description in the coming days. Also, stay tuned for updates from some of our intrepid DeZoZoo scientists who will be joining the LiDZ team to help out and take some plankton samples. Stay tuned!