Some BackgroundThe "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico is the biggest dead zone in the United States. This hypoxic zone is defined as an area with a dissolved oxygen concentration lower than 2 mg of O2 per liter. The "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico has increased in size throughout the years. This hypoxic zone, however, has been seen to be more anoxic during different times of the year.
One of the biggest contributing factors to these hypoxic zones, is humans. Humans are responsible for the increased nitrogen as well as phosphorus concentrations in the Mississippi river which runoff into the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the source comes from fertilizer runoff from a vast range of the United States. This fertilizer in the waters create algae blooms. Once the algae die, microbes come in to eat this decaying matter, and use up all the oxygen. This massive decrease in oxygen then causes other marine organisms to die because they cannot survive these conditions.
Sources that I plan to use include:
- Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia, A.K.A. "The Dead Zone"
- Nutrients and the "dead zone": the link between nutrient ratios and dissolved oxygen in the northern Gulf of Mexico
- Nitrogen sources and Gulf hypoxia: potential for environmental credit trading
- Map of Aquatic Dead Zones
- This website also has many links to other articles that I plan to read through for additional sources