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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Lecture investigates Greenwich Bay fish kill through the magnifying glass of forensic ecology

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Third in fifth annual Sea Grant-Cooperative Extension Community Summer Lecture Series

NARRAGANSETT -- September 10, 2004 -- The fish kill of last summer and clam die-off this summer again brought Greenwich Bay’s water quality problems to the surface along with the dead fish. However, as one scientist puts it, “This is not necessarily an unnatural or unexpected event. And I do not think there will be any long-term ecological impact,” says Scott Nixon, URI oceanography professor. “It is certainly an unpleasant event for the folks around the affected areas, but neither Greenwich Bay nor Narragansett Bay is dying.”

According to Nixon and colleague Candace Oviatt, URI oceanography professor, “The late summer fish kill in Greenwich Bay last year was seen by many as a sign that Narragansett Bay was ‘dying’ as a result of nitrogen inputs that had pushed the Bay ‘over the edge.’ We have approached the fish kill from the perspective of forensic ecology and reached somewhat different conclusions. Nitrogen was certainly present at the scene of the crime, but other suspects pulled the trigger.”

Nixon shares their perspective in the presentation “Anatomy of a Fish Kill” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 23, at the URI Coastal Institute Auditorium, Narragansett Bay Campus, South Ferry Road, Narragansett.

This lecture is the last in the annual Community Summer Lecture Series sponsored by Rhode Island Sea Grant and the URI Cooperative Extension/Nutrition and Food Sciences Program. The presentation is free, but seating is limited, so reservations are required. Contact the Sea Grant Communications Office at (401) 874-6842 to register.