How did the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico form?
A dead zone of oxygen-depleted waters forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico in response to nutrient runoff from the Mississippi River watershed. Nutrient-rich runoff containing nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural lands and sewage causes the summer dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico .
What are the effects of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, estimates that the dead zone costs U.S. seafood and tourism industries $82 million a year. The impact could be devastating to the Gulf’s seafood industry, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the nation’s seafood.
What is the main cause of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico?
Hypoxia is believed to be caused primarily by excess nutrients delivered from the Mississippi River in combination with seasonal stratification of Gulf waters. Stratification of fresh and saline waters prevents oxygen replenishment by mixing of oxygen-rich surface water with oxygen-depleted bottom water.
What is the Gulf of Mexico dead zone and when does it happen?
This lack of oxygen creates the Dead Zone in bottom waters on the Texas-Louisiana shelf throughout warm summer months. This occurs when there are fewer storms and strong winds to mix the warm, oxygenated surface waters and the cooler, deeper waters.
Who is responsible for the Gulf of Mexico dead zone?
Foul Waters The primary culprit responsible for the growing size of the dead zone is an increasing supply of nitrogen dumped into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River. Nitrogen levels discharged from the river have nearly tripled since the 1950s, with an annual average since 1980 of 1.6 million metric tons.
Is the Gulf of Mexico a dead zone?
Funding source: NOAA. The 2018 Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or “ dead zone ” measured 7,040 square kilometers (2,720 square miles), the fourth smallest area mapped since 1985.
How can we stop the Gulf of Mexico dead zone?
The key to minimizing the Gulf dead zone is to address it at the source. Solutions include: Using fewer fertilizers and adjusting the timing of fertilizer applications to limit runoff of excess nutrients from farmland. Control of animal wastes so that they are not allowed to enter into waterways.
Is the Gulf of Mexico still polluted?
A decade after the BP oil spill: Sick fish, Gulf pollution , and human health problems. The BP oil continues polluting the gulf even today, according to recently released findings by scientists from the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Sciences. It’s still affecting fish and other marine species.
Where is the largest dead zone?
Gulf of Mexico
What activities cause hypoxia?
Hypoxia occurs most often, however, as a consequence of human-induced factors, especially nutrient pollution (also known as eutrophication). The causes of nutrient pollution, specifically of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients, include agricultural runoff, fossil-fuel burning, and wastewater treatment effluent.
Why is hypoxia a problem?
What is hypoxia and what causes it? Hypoxia means low oxygen and is primarily a problem for estuaries and coastal waters. As dead algae decompose, oxygen is consumed in the process, resulting in low levels of oxygen in the water.
What is the deepest part of the Gulf of Mexico?
How many dead zones are there?
415 dead zones
Where are the dead zones in the ocean?
Dead zones occur in coastal areas around the nation and in the Great Lakes — no part of the country or the world is immune. The second largest dead zone in the world is located in the U.S., in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
What organisms live at the bottom of the Gulf?
The Gulf of Mexico is home to thousands of different species including fish, mammals, turtles, plants, and more. Sea plants include seagrasses, marine algae , mangroves, and marsh grass. They provide habitats for countless creatures including fish, shrimp, bivalves, plankton, and other marine animals.