Photos of the Long Island Sound

Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Type of Indicators: Health/Condition Response/Performance Socio-Economic Historical/Background

Frequency of Hypoxia

What is Hypoxia?

Hypoxia is a condition that occurs in bodies of water as dissolved oxygen concentrations decrease to levels where organisms become physically stressed and ultimately cannot survive. Prolonged hypoxic conditions result in severe die-offs of animals that are unable to move out of hypoxic waters, mass migrations of mobile animals, changes in water chemistry and other adverse ecological effects. The Long Island Sound Study defines hypoxia as waters with dissolved oxygen concentrations less than 3 mg/L.

For more information on hypoxia and efforts to reduce its occurrence in Long Island Sound read the hypoxia section in our management plan.

What does this indicate?

The map above illustrates the areas of the Long Island Sound that are most frequently affected by hypoxia.  The colors on the map represent the percentage of years in which hypoxic conditions have occurred in bottom waters of Long Island Sound since the LISS Water Quality Monitoring program was instituted in the early 1990s.


The bottom waters in the westernmost areas of Long Island Sound have experienced hypoxia virtually every year since monitoring began.  Another area of regular hypoxic conditions is Smithtown Bay in Long Island, which is the site of a recently funded hypoxia research program.

RESEARCH assistants deploy the rosette sampler. Bottles mounted to the rosette are sent down open and triggered to close collecting a sample at various depths throughout the water column. The CTD mounted to the rosette is connected to a computer in the lab which displays the data in real-time allowing researchers to select specific depths to sample. Photo by Lloyd Langevin

Learn More

Subscribe to receive our e-newsletter, Sound Bytes by providing your email address. Interested in a free copy of our print newsletter, Sound Update? Then also provide your home/company/school address.