‘Dead zone’ a bit smaller after Dolly

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The oxygen-starved “dead zone” that forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico is a bit smaller than predicted this year because Hurricane Dolly stirred up the water, a scientist reported Monday.

There is too little oxygen to support sea life for about 8,000 square miles -- just under the 2001 record of 8,006 square miles -- said Nancy Rabalais, head of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

Scientists had predicted flood runoff would bring so much fertilizer and other nutrients into the gulf that the area of low oxygen would be a record 8,300 to 8,800 square miles.