Nancy Rabalais 2017-09-18T19:02:24+00:00


Distinguished Research Professor
Hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico · Coastal Waters Consortium · Phytoplankton Guide

Education · Research Interests · Current Projects · Teaching · Research Group · Selected Publications


  • Ph.D., 1983, Zoology
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • M.S., 1975, Biology
    Texas A & I University, Kingsville
  • B.S., 1972, Biology
    Texas A & I University, Kingsville


  • Coastal change, eutrophication, and hypoxia
  • Cumulative coastal stressors
  • Historical reconstruction of ecosystem changes from sediments
  • Pelagic and benthic processes in continental shelf hypoxic areas
  • Coastal ecosystem impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill



  • Changing Coastal Oceans


  • Wendy Morrison, Senior Research Associate/CWC Deputy Director
    • B.S., 1987, Biology
      University of Louisiana Monroe
  • Shivakumar Shivarudrappa, Postdoctoral Research Associate
    • Ph.D., 2015, Biological Sciences
      University of Southern Mississippi
    • M.S., 2005, Fisheries Environment and Ecology
      Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Science University
    • B.S., 2003, Fisheries Science,
      University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Logen Pietraroia, Research Assistant
    • B.S., 2016, Biology
      Nicholls State University
  • Claire Windecker, Research Assistant
    • B.S., 2015, Biology
      Western Washington University
  • Gina Woods, Research Assistant
    • B.S., 2017, Biology
      University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Elizabeth Robinson, Ph.D. Student (Louisiana State University)
  • Jason Weick, CWC Data Manager
    • M.A.S., 2012, Geographic Information Technology
      Delta State University
    • B.S., 2001, Geography
      Louisiana State University
  • Leslie Smith, Data Manager
    • Ph.D., 2011, Oceanography
      University of Rhode Island


  • Hu, Xinping, Qian Li, Wei-Jen Huang, Baoshan Chen, Wei-Jun Cai, Nancy Rabalais, Eugene Turner. 2017. Eutrophication, storms and benthic respiration—a case study on carbonate chemistry in a traditional hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Chemistry 194: 33-42.
  • Mertens, Kenneth Neil, Haifeng Gu, Yoshihito Takano, Andrea M. Price, Vera Pospelova, Kara Bogus, Gerard Versteegh, Fabienne Marret, R. Eugene Turner, Nancy N. Rabalais, Kazumi Matsuoka. on line 4 April 2016. The cyst-theca relation of Trinovantedinium pallidifulvum, with erection of Protoperidinium lousianensis sp. nov. and their phylogenetic position within the Conica group, Palynology.
  • Bargu, Sibel, Melissa M. Baustian, Nancy N. Rabalais, Ross Del Rio, Benjamin Von Korff, R. Eugene Turner. On line 2016. Influence of the Mississippi River on Pseudo-nitzschia spp. abundance and toxicity in Louisiana coastal waters. Estuaries and Coasts 29 March 2016: 1-12.
  • Luo, Zhaohe, Bernd Krock, Kenneth Neil Mertens, Andrea Michelle Price, Robert Eugene Turner, Nancy N. RabalaisHaifeng, Gu. 2016. REVIEW Morphology, molecular phylogeny and azaspiracid profile of Azadinium poporum (Dinophyceae) from the Gulf of Mexico. Harmful Algae 55:56-65.
  • Wong, Wai Hing, Nancy N. Rabalais, R. Eugene Turner. 2016. Size-dependent top down control on phytoplankton growth by microzooplankton in eutrophic lakes. Hydrobiologia 763:97-108.
  • Liu, B., L. A. Shaider, R. P. Mason, J. P. Shine, N. N. Rabalais, and D. B. Senn. 2015. Controls on methylmercury accumulation in northern Gulf of Mexico sediments. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 159: 50-59.
  • Gillies, L. E., J. C. Thrash, S. de Radas, N. N. Rabalais and O. U. Mason. 2015. Archaeal enrichment in the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Environmental Microbiology and Environmental Microbiology Reports.
  • Rabotyagov SS, Campbell TD, White M, Arnold J, Atwood J, Norfleet J, Kling CL, Gassman PW, Valcu A, Richardson J, Turner RE, Rabalais NN 2015 Cost-effective targeting of conservation investments to reduce the northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. online early edition.
  • Gu, Haifeng, Luo, Zhaohe, Mertens, Kenneth, Price, Andrea, Turner, Eugene, Rabalais, Nancy 2015. Cyst-motile stage relationship, morphology, ultrastructure, and molecular phylogeny of the gymnodinioid dinoflagellate Barrufeta resplendenscomb. nov., formerly known as Gyrodinium resplendens, isolated from the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Phycology 51: 990-999.
  • Parsons, M., W. Morrison, N. N. Rabalais, R. E. Turner. 2015. Phytoplankton and the Macondo oil spill: A comparison of the 2010 phytoplankton assemblage to baseline conditions on the Louisiana Shelf. Environmental Pollution 207:152-160.
  • Rabalais, N.N. 2015. Commentary: Human impacts on fisheries across the land-sea interface. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.
  • Rabalais, N. N. 2014. Viewpoint: Assessing early looks at biological responses to the Macondo event, BioScience, in press. DOI 10.1093/biosci/biu132.
  • Fry, Brian, D. Justić, P. Riekenberg, E. Swenson, E. Turner, L. Wang, L. Pride, N. Rabalais, J. Kurtz, J. Lehrter, M. Murrell, E. Shadwick and B. Boyd. 2014. Carbon dynamics on the Louisiana continental shelf and cross-shelf feeding of hypoxia. Estuaries and Coasts, DOI: 10.1007/s12237-014-9863-9.
  • Hu, X., W.-J. Cai, N. N. Rabalais, and J. Xue. 2014. Coupled oxygen and dissolved inorganic carbon dynamics in coastal ocean and its use as a potential indicator for detecting water column oil degradation. Deep Sea Research II: 2014: 1-8.
  • Kling, C. L., Y. Panagopoulos, S. Rabotyagov, A. Valcu, P. W. Gassman, T. Campbell, M. White, J. G. Arnold, R. Srinivasan, M. K. Jha, J. Richardson, L. M. Moskal, G. Turner, and N. Rabalais. LUMINATE: Linking agricultural land use, local water quality and Gulf of Mexico hypoxia. European Review of Agricultural Economics, Advance Access published June 10, 2014 European Review of Agricultural Economics pp. 1–29, doi:10.1093/erae/jbu009.
  • Rabalais, N. N., Cai, W.-J., J. Carstensen, D. J. Conley, B. Fry, X. Quiñones-Rivera, R. Rosenberg, C. P. Slomp, R. E. Turner, M. Voss, B. Wissel, and J. Zhang. 2014. Eutrophication-driven deoxygenation in the coastal ocean. Oceanography 70: 123-133.
  • Rabotyagov, S. S., C. L. Kling, P. W. Gassman, N. N. Rabalais, and R. E. Turner. 2014. The economics of dead zones: Causes, impacts, policy challenges and a statistical model of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 8(1): 58-79. doi: 10.1093/reep/ret024
  • Obenour, D. R., D. Scavia, N. N. Rabalais, R. E. Turner and A. M. Michalak. 2013. A retrospective analysis of mid-summer hypoxic 1 area and volume in the northern Gulf of Mexico, 1985-2011. Environmental Science and Technology 47:9808-9815. dx.doi.org/10.1021/es400983g
  • Gilbert, D., N.N. Rabalais, R.J. Diaz and J. Zhang. 2010. Evicence for greater oxygen decline rates in the coastal ocean than in the open ocean. Biogeosciences 7:2283-2296.
  • Wong, W.-H., N.N. Rabalais and R. E. Turner. 2010. Abundance and ecological significance of the clam Rangia cuneata (Sowerby, 1831) in the upper Barataria Estuary (Louisiana, USA), Hydrobiologia 651: 305-315.
  • Zhang, J., D. Gilbert, A.J. Gooday, L. Levin, S.W.A. Naqvi, J.J. Middelburg, M. Scranton, W. Ekau, A.Pena, B. Dewitte, T. Oguz, P.M.S. Monteiro, E. Urban, N.N. Rabalais, V. Ittekot, W.M. Kemp, O.Ulloa, R. Elmgren, E. Escobar-Briones, and A.K. Van der Plas. 2010. Natural and human-induced hypoxia and consequences for coastal areas: synthesis and future development. Biogeosciences 7: 1443-1467.
  • Quinones-Rivera, Z. J., B. Wissel, N. N. Rabalais and D. Justic. 2010. Effects of biological and physical factors on seasonal oxygen dynamics in a stratified, eutrophic coastal ecosystem. Limnology and Oceanography 55: 289-304.
  • Rabalais, N. N. 2010. Eutrophication of estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Pp. 115-135 in R. Mitchell and J.-D. Gu (eds.), Environmental Microbiology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.
  • Grippo, M., J. W. Fleeger, N. N. Rabalais, R. Condrey and K. R. Carman. 2010. Contribution of phytoplankton and benthic microalgae to inner shelf sediments of the north-central Gulf of Mexico. Continental Shelf Research 30: 456-466.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. J. Diaz, L. A. Levin, R. E. Turner, D. Gilbert and J. Zhang. 2010. Dynamics and distribution of natural and human-caused coastal hypoxia. Biogeosciences 7: 585-619.
  • Levin, L. A., W. Ekau, A. Gooday, F. Jorrisen, J. Middelburg, W. Naqvi, C. Neira, N. N. Rabalais and J. Zhang. 2009. Effects of natural and human-induced hypoxia on coastal benthos. Biogeosciences 6: 2063-2098.
  • Gooday, A. J., F. Jorissen, L. A. Levin, J. J. Middelburg, W. Naqvi, N. N. Rabalais, M. Scranton and J. Zhang. 2009. Historical records of coastal eutrophication and hypoxia. Biogeosciences 6: 1707-1745.
  • Garcia, A. C., S. Bargu, P. Dash, N. N. Rabalais, M. Sutor, W. Morrison and N. Walker. 2009. Evaluating the potential risk of microcystins to blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) fisheries and human health in a eutrophic estuary. Harmful Algae 9: 134-143.
  • Conley, D. J., S. Bjorck, E. Bonsdorff, G. Destouni, B. Gustafsson, S. Hietanen, M. Kortekaas, H. Kuosa, M. Meier, B. Muller-Karulis, K. Nordberg, G. Nurnberg, A. Norkko, H. Pitkanen, N. N. Rabalais, R. Rosenberg, O. Savchuk, C. P. Slomp, M. Voss, F. Wulff and L. Zillen. 2009. Critical Review. Hypoxia-related processes in the Baltic Sea. Environmental Science and Technology.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner, D. Justic, and R. J. Diaz. 2009. Global change and eutrophication of coastal waters. ICES Journal of Marine Science 66: 1528-1537.
  • Baustian, M. M. and N. N. Rabalais. 2009. Seasonal composition of benthic macroinfauna exposed to hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries and Coasts 32(5): 975-983.
  • Ren, L., N.N. Rabalais, W. Morrison, W. Mendenhall, R. E. Turner. 2009. Nutrient limitation on phytoplankton growth in upper Barataria Basin, Louisiana: Microcosm bioassays. Estuaries and Coasts 32: 958-974.
  • Baustian, M.M., Craig, J.K. and N.N. Rabalais. 2009. Effects of summer 2003 hypoxia on macrobenthos and Atlantic croaker foraging selectivity in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 381: S31-S37.
  • Rabalais, N. N. and D. Gilbert. 2008. Distribution and consequences of hypoxia. Chapter 11, pp. 209-225 in E. R. Urban, Bjorn Sundby, P. Malanotte-Rizzoli, and Jerry Milello (eds.), Watersheds, Bays, and Bounded Seas: The Science and Management of Semi-Enclosed Marine Systems. Island Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Turner, R. E., N. N. Rabalais and D. Justic. 2008. Gulf of Mexico hypoxia: alternate states and a legacy. Environmental Science and Technology 42: 2323-2327.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner, B. K. Sen Gupta, E. Platon and M. L. Parsons. 2007. Sediments tell the history of eutrophication and hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Ecological Applications, Special Issue, Nutrient Enrichment of Estuarine and Coastal Marine Environments 17(5) Supplement: S129-S143.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner, B. K. Sen Gupta, D. F. Boesch, P. Chapman, and M. C. Murrell. 2007. Characterization and Long-Term Trends of Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Does the Science Support the Action Plan? Estuaries and Coasts 30(5): 753-772.
  • Turner, R. E., N. N. Rabalais, D. Scavia and G. F. McIsaac. 2007. Corn Belt landscapes and hypoxia of the Gulf of Mexico. In J. I. Nassauer, M. V. Santelmann and D. Scavia (eds.) From the Corn Belt to the Gulf. Ecological and Societal Implications of Alternative Agricultural Futures, Resources for the Future Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Turner, R. E., N. N. Rabalais, R. B. Alexander, G. McIsaac and R. W. Howarth. 2007. Characterization of nutrient, organic carbon and sediment loads from the Mississippi River into the northern Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries and Coasts 30(5): 773-790.
  • Turner, R. E., N. N. Rabalais and D. Justic. 2006. Predicting summer hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico: riverine N, P and Si loading. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52: 139-148.
  • Walker, N.D. and N.N. Rabalais. 2006. Relationships among Satellite Chlorophyll a, River Inputs and Hypoxia on the Louisiana Continental Shelf, Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries and Coasts 29(6B): 1081-1093.
  • Parsons, M.L., Q. Dortch, R.E. Turner and N.N. Rabalais. 2006. Reconstructing the development of eutrophication in Louisiana salt marshes. Limn. Ocean. 51(1, part 2): 534-544.
  • Rabalais, N.N. and R.E. Turner. 2006. Oxygen depletion in the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Mississippi River. Pages 225-245 in L. N. Neretin, ed., Past and Present Marine Water Column Anoxia. NATO Science Series: IV-Earth and Environmental Sciences, Kluwer.
  • Platon, E., B. K. Sen Gupta, N. N. Rabalais, and R. E. Turner. 2005. Effect of seasonal hypoxia on the benthic foraminiferal community of the Louisiana inner continental shelf: The 20th century record. Mar. Micropal. 54: 263-283.
  • Turner, R. E., N. N. Rabalais, E. M. Swenson, M. Kasprzak and T. Romaire. 2005. Summer hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico and its prediction from 1978 to 1995. Marine Environmental Research 59: 65-77.
  • Justic, D., N. N. Rabalais and R. E. Turner. 2005. Coupling between climate variability and marine coastal eutrophication: historical evidence and future outlook. Journal of Sea Research 54: 25-35.
  • Rabalais, N. N., N. Atilla, C. Normandeau and R. E. Turner. 2004. Ecosystem history of Mississippi River-influenced continental shelf revealed through preserved phytoplankton pigments. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 49: 537-547.
  • Turner, R. E. and N. N. Rabalais. 2004. Suspended sediment, C, N, P, and Si yields from the Mississippi River Basin. Hydrobiologia 511: 79-89.
  • Rabalais, N. N. 2004. Chapter 21: Eutrophication, p. 819-865. In A. R. Robinson, J. McCarthy and B. J. Rothschild (eds.), The Global Coastal Ocean: Multiscale Interdisciplinary Processes, The Sea. Vol. 13, Harvard University Press.
  • Justic, D., N. N. Rabalais, and R. E. Turner. 2003. Simulated responses of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia to variations in climate and anthropogenic nutrient loading. J. Mar. Syst. 42: 115-126.
  • Turner, R. E., N. N. Rabalais, D. Justic and Q. Dortch. 2003. Global patterns of dissolved N, P and Si in large rivers. Biogeochemistry 64: 297-317.
  • Turner, R. E. and N. N. Rabalais. 2003. Linking landscape and water quality in the Mississippi River basin for 200 years. BioScience 53: 563-572.
  • Justic, D., R. E. Turner, and N. N. Rabalais. 2003. Climatic influences on riverine nitrate flux: Implications for coastal marine eutrophication and hypoxia. Estuaries 26: 1-11.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner, and D. Scavia. 2002. Beyond science into policy: Gulf of Mexico hypoxia and the Mississippi River. BioScience 52: 129-142.
  • Rabalais, N. N. 2002. Nitrogen in aquatic ecosystems. Ambio 31(2): 102-112.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner, and W. J. Wiseman, Jr. 2002. Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, a.k.a. “The Dead Zone.” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 33: 235-263.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner, Q. Dortch, D. Justic, V. J. Bierman, Jr. and W. J. Wiseman, Jr. 2002. Review. Nutrient-enhanced productivity in the northern Gulf of Mexico: past, present and future. Hydrobiologia 475/476: 39-63.
  • Rabalais, N. N. and R. E. Turner (eds.). 2001. Coastal Hypoxia: Consequences for Living Resources and Ecosystems. Coastal and Estuarine Studies 58, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.
  • Rabalais, N. N. and R. E. Turner. 2001. Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Description, causes and change. Pp 1-36 in N. N. Rabalais and R. E. Turner (eds.), Coastal Hypoxia: Consequences for Living Resources and Ecosystems. Coastal and Estuarine Studies 58, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.
  • Parsons, M. L., Q. Dortch, R. E. Turner and N. N. Rabalais. 1999. Salinity reconstructions utilizing diatom remains in recent sediments of coastal marsh environments. Estuaries 22(4): 1078-1089.
  • Turner, R. E., N. Qureshi, N. N. Rabalais, Q. Dortch, D. Justic, R. F. Shaw and J. Cope. 1998. Fluctuating silicate:nitrate ratios and coastal plankton food webs. Proceedings National Academy of Science, USA 95:13048-13051.
  • Rabalais, N. N. 1998 (on-line). Oxygen Depletion in Coastal Waters. In NOAA’s State of the Coast Report. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Rabalais, N. N. R. E. Turner, W. J. Wiseman, Jr. and Q. Dortch. 1998. Consequences of the 1993 Mississippi River Flood in the Gulf of Mexico. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management 14: 161-177.
  • Justic, D., N. N. Rabalais and R. E. Turner. 1997. Impacts of climate change on net productivity of coastal waters: Implications for carbon budget and hypoxia. Climate Research 8: 225-237.
  • Dortch, Q., R. Robichaux, S. Pool, D. Milsted, G. Mire, N. N. Rabalais, T. M. Soniate, G. A. Fryxell, R. E. Turner and M.L. Parsons. 1997. Abundance and vertical flux of Pseudonitzschia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Ecology Progress Series 146: 249-264.
  • Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner, D. Justic, Q. Dortch, W. J. Wiseman, Jr. and B. K. Sen Gupta. 1996. Nutrient changes in the Mississippi River and system responses on the adjacent continental shelf. Estuaries 19(2B): 386-407.
  • Sen Gupta, B. K., R. E. Turner, and N. N. Rabalais. 1996. Seasonal oxygen depletion in continental-shelf waters of Louisiana: Historical record of benthic foraminifers. Geology 24(3): 227-230.
  • Justic, D., N. N. Rabalais, and R. E. Turner. 1996. Effects of climate change on hypoxia in coastal waters: a doubled CO2 scenario for the northern Gulf of Mexico. Limnology and Oceanography 41(5): 992-1003.
  • Rabalais, N. N., W. J. Wiseman, Jr. and R. E. Turner. 1994. Comparison of continuous records of near-bottom dissolved oxygen from the hypoxia zone along the Louisiana coast. Estuaries 17(4): 850-861.
  • Turner, R. E. and N. N. Rabalais. 1994. Coastal eutrophication near the Mississippi river delta. Nature 368: 619-621.
  • Turner, R. E. and N. N. Rabalais. 1991. Changes in Mississippi River water quality this century and implications for coastal food webs. BioScience 41(3): 140-147.
  • Boesch, D. F. and N. N. Rabalais (eds.). 1987. Long-Term Environmental Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Development. Elsevier Applied Science Publishers, London, 696 p.