Dead Zones: The Water Mass of Death
Matt Katsigianis and Meredith Pease
What Causes the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico?
What Types of Organisms are Involved?
What are the ecological impacts, which species are affected and how is the environment affected?
The hypoxic areas drain the oxygen from the area, and fish and shrimp migrate to other areas in order to avoid a lack of oxygen that would kill them. Many small organisms that are food for fish and shrimp can’t escape the area and are killed by the hypoxic dangers in their homes. When the fish and shrimp return to the area, they cannot find sufficient amounts of food (CNN).
What Are the Economic Impacts?
What kinds of geographic areas are affected by dead zones?
Dead zones are most notably seen along the coasts, as noted by Fig. 2. This is because runoff of fertilizers come from rivers, and are deposited into the ocean, affecting the areas immediately within the vicinity.
Fig. 2 (Simmons)
What Can Be Done to Reduce, Eliminate Or Manage Excess Nutrients and Solve This Issue?
• Use environmentally friendly landscaping techniques that require less fertilizer, prevent erosion, and use native plants. Using a soil test kit will help you determine the amount of fertilizer you actually need
• Leave grass clippings on the lawn the recycle nutrients or start a compost pile to reduce the amount of waste you put into the garbage disposal or garbage can
• Conserve water at home to reduce the volume of wastewater that must be treated by a sewage treatment plant or septic system. This will increase the efficiency of treatment and save you money
• Use safe, non-toxic alternatives for cleaning and for controlling pests. Always take your household/lawn chemicals to a recycling center, not in the trash or down your drain
• Wash your car on a grassy area if possible, so the ground can filter the water naturally. Use soap sparingly and try to use non-phosphate detergents. Empty the bucket of soapy water in the sink, not in the street
(The Nature Conservancy)
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