A study was undertaken in order to document and quantify recent environmental change in Mobile Bay, Alabama. The study was part of the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM) Ecosystem Change and Hazard Susceptibility project, a regional project funded by the Coastal and Marine Geology Program to understand how natural forcings and anthropogenic modifications influence coastal ecosystems and their susceptibility to coastal hazards. Mobile Bay is a large drowned-river estuary that has been modified significantly by humans to accommodate the Port of Mobile. Examples include repeated dredging of a large shipping channel down the central axis of the bay and construction of a causeway across the head of the bay and at the foot of the bayhead delta. In addition to modifications, the bay is also known to have episodic periods of low oxygen (hypoxia) that result in significant mortality to fish and benthic organisms (May, 1973). For this study a series of surface sediment samples were collected. Surface benthic foraminiferal and bulk geochemical data provide the modern baseline conditions of the bay and can be used as a reference to changing environmental parameters in the past (Osterman and Smith, in press) and into the future. This report archives data collected as part of the Mobile Bay Study that may be used in future environmental change studies.
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USGS Numbered Series
Seasonal variability in the surface sediments of Mobile Bay, Alabama, recorded by geochemistry and foraminifera, 2009–2010