Study shows importance of sustainable agriculture in preserving Gulf ecosystem

By Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Dissolved organic carbon that enters the ocean through river runoff is a necessary food for aquatic microbes that are vital to water quality and health. However, too much dissolved organic carbon is not a good thing for water quality or for aquatic life.

From 1901 to 2010, the amount of dissolved organic carbon entering the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River increased by 40 percent. A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment researcher led a study that shows the increase is mainly due to human activity but sustainable agricultural practices are slowing the increase compared to previous ones. Continue reading