Did you know that there are oxygen depleted waters in the Gulf of Mexico? Scientist have tracked this dead zone for 32 years. The one that’s occurring this year is the biggest yet.
The reason that they call it the “dead zone,” is because most marine life cannot survive under such conditions and this years oxygen deficient waters has grown to 8,776 square miles as of July 2017. This new extent makes it the largest dead zone ever recorded. This has some who are working to find a solution to the problem.
Nutrients released into the Mississippi River watershed, such nitrogen and phosphorous from sources as fertilizers from farmland, lawns, and sewage treatment facilities trigger algal blooms when they reach the warm slow moving waters of the Gulf.
After a die off of the algal cells, they decompose and stimulate the growth and respiration of microorganisms, which use up the oxygen in the water. This harms marine life, such as fish and shellfish that need the oxygen to survive.
2017 is turned out to be a year very heavy spring rains, which lead to a fairly large dead zone because of the excess nutrients flushed into the marine ecosystem.
First signs of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico appeared in the 1970s and would fluctuate year to year due to periods of droughts and hurricanes.
The dead zone has increased in size over the decades and is now one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Check Out this article from Earthsky.org: http://earthsky.org/earth/largest-ever-gulf-of-mexico-dead-zone