Seasonal Hydrography and Hypoxia of Coos Bay, Oregon
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The recent rise of inner shelf hypoxia in the California Current System has caused concern within the scientific community, sparking a surge in studies addressing the issue. While regional studies of hypoxia abound, relatively little attention has been focused on the smaller coastal estuarine systems in the Pacific Northwest. Here, we present results from Coos Bay, a small, highly seasonal estuary on the southern Oregon coast. Due to wide fluctuations in freshwater input, Coos Bay exhibits characteristics of a salt-wedge type estuary in the winter, a well-mixed estuary in the summer, and a partially-mixed estuary during times of moderate discharge. Despite a strong coupling with coastal waters, we did not find evidence for pervasive hypoxia in Coos Bay. The primary drivers of variability in dissolved oxygen levels in the estuary are upwelling wind stress, residence time, and in situ biologic processes.