The Great Lakes a Dead Zone

Its Really Blooming, By Ben Hart and Mac Catrambone

Explanation of what causes a Dead zone.

Basically the rivers that connect to the lake are contaminated with fertilizer from farms, and it enters the lake. It is more intense during spring because of how much it rains. The reason rain speeds up the process is because it floods the land near the river and lakes washing it into the river or lake. Mainly it is agricultural runoff and human activity. So this is a result of too much phosphorous and nitrogen contaminating the lake. This whole process is called Eutrophication.

(Figure 1 to the right is Lake Erie a dead zone) (Live Science)

What types of organisms are involved?

The cyanobacteria or blue-green algae are what feed of the phosphorus and nitrogen. And the phytoplankton, algae and seaweed will grow from the phosphorus so much it becomes out of control.

What are the ecological impacts, which species are affected and how is the environment affected?

Algal blooms and hypoxia are two ecological impacts in the marine ecosystem. This is what makes these zones, dead zones. Us humans can be affected by fish who use filter feed in the water like shellfish. They filter feed microbes and most of them are toxic to humans. Anything that depends on fish for food like wading birds will die. Due to the fact all the fish turn into toxic contaminated organisms.

Fish that are affected

  • yellow perch

  • rainbow smelt

  • emerald shiner

  • round goby

  • pelagic prey

  • benthic prey
Big image
(figure 2 is of the fish with labeled names) (Technical Bulletin)

Economic impacts of dead zones

An economic impact is that fisheries are decreased and fisheries are very important to the economy because they are a very important food source. Also grocery stores and markets are going to be affected because they won't be making any money off of the fish that would usually be in stock. Also this could potentially hurt the jobs of fishermen in the industry that can't fish and make money.

Location affected by these

Dead zones can occur in freshwater or saltwater areas. They can occur in some natural coastal areas. They occur a lot in the areas adjacent to the densely populated watersheds. Areas are more common to dead zones are areas that deutrophication. This is because there is so much nurtients compacted into one small area. Human actvities are a main cause of the excess nutrients being washed into the ocean. WHen cyanobacteria grows out of control it causes an uprise in it causing an algal bloom.

What can be done to reduce or eliminate this issue?

We can reduce run off. A lot of nutrients come from animal feedlots that put a lot of excess nutrients into bodies of water. Rain water is a big part because it transport all these pollutants into the ocean so if we can use certain materials that soak up the water and keep the polluted water in the area where it started and not into the ocean and lakes. We can also use materials that will help absorb the rainwater so it doesn't transport to areas that could be affected.

Works cited

"Dead Zone." National Geographic. National geographic society, 3 Feb. 2016. Web.

3 Feb. 2016. <


"How Is the Fish Habbitat Affected." Technical Bulletin. Zoe Almeida, July 2015.

Web. 3 Feb. 2016. <


"Lake Erie Dead Zone: Don't Blame the Slime!" Live Science. Becky Oskin, 6 Jan.

2015. Web. 3 Feb. 2016. <


Macs Works Cited

“Dead zone.” National Geographic. N.p., 7 May 2012. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <>.

“Dead zones.” Teachoceanscience. N.p., 18 July 2011. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <>.

“Reducing the dead zone.” The Nature conservancy. N.p., 13 Apr. 2013. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <>.