Dead Zone - General Collection


Below is a list of resources such as news articles, web sites, and reference pages provide a comprehensive array of information about dead zones- in the Gulf of Mexico and worldwide!
Summertime satellite observations of ocean color from MODIS/Aqua show highly turbid waters which may include large blooms of phytoplankton extending from the mouth of the Mississippi River all the way to the Texas coast. When these blooms die and sink to the bottom, bacterial decomposition strips oxygen from the surrounding water, creating an environment very difficult for marine life to survive in. Reds and oranges represent high concentrations of phytoplankton and river sediment. Image taken by NASA and provided courtesy of the NASA Mississippi Dead Zone web site.
  • Agricultural Impacts on the Gulf of Mexico. This Kenyon College website features a collection of articles written by students from Denison University and Kenyon College. The articles describe various aspects of the Mississippi River delta dead zone. Topics covered include physical characteristics and ecological analysis of hypoxia, an overview of the Mississippi River, land use and effects in the Mississippi River drainage basin, the effect of wetlands on eutrophication, farmers and fisheries, political and social implications, and potential solutions to the problem. (more info)
  • Dead Zone: Galveston Researcher Examines Loss of Marine Life . This Texas A&M newspaper article provides very general info regarding the possible link between poor water quality in the Gulf of Mexico and farm runoff. Researcher Antonietta Quigg describes her work, attempting to explain the Mississippi River delta dead zone as a combination of biological, chemical, and physical interactions that may or may not be triggered by fertilizer runoff. (more info)
  • Dead zones off New Jersey. This Geotimes article gives a brief overview of the New Jersey dead zone. Unlike the Mississippi delta hypoxia, which is thought to occur from nutrient overloading from farms along the Mississippi River, oceanographers believe that coastal upwelling from the sea, bringing excess nutrients to the coastal waters, is the cause of New Jersey’s dead zone. (more info)
  • Elusive dead zone tracked in the Pacific . This MSNBC newspaper article provides general information about poor water quality off the Oregon coast. The article recounts how scientists are hunting for very low levels of oxygen, a sign of what is called the dead zone. The article includes possible causes of the dead zone and how it may relate to climate cycles. This site also features a related story about the Mississippi River delta dead zone. (more info)
  • Hypoxia Press Release and Map - August 1, 2005. This EPA press release documents the findings of a 2005 mapping project in the Gulf of Mexico low-oxygen waters. The article notes the extent of the "dead zone" and notes the possible effects of Hurricane Dennis on the hypoxic zone. It also reports a smaller than expected nitrate content in the dead zone, which was attributed to the below average precipitation in the Mississippi River Basin. The press release also features a color map of the dead zone's extent. (more info)
  • Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico and Fertilization Facts. This Potash and Phosphate Institutes of US and Canada article provides a detailed overview of the Gulf of Mexico low oxygen zone and its connection to fertilizer use along the Mississippi River. It provides quick facts about the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River drainage basin. The article provides several arguments as to whether this zone is caused by farming practices or climate. The article also features graphs, maps, and tables related to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone and farming fertilizers. (more info)
  • Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia. This EPA site provides links to introductory information about the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. It offers answers to questions such as: what is the hypoxic zone, how did it form, what strategies are being implemented to remedy it, and what is the government doing. It also features links to various regions within the Mississippi River Basin, allowing users to explore issues in their own area. (more info)
  • More Nitrogen Upstream, Fewer Filters Downstream. This USGS-sponsored site provides an explanation for the low oxygen conditions of the "dead zone" stemming from the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico watersheds. The factors that contribute to this eutrophication involve the landscape, agricultural and industrial practices, and changes in the Mississippi itself. The site features a color map of the drainage basins. (more info)
  • Restoring Life to the Dead Zone: Addressing Gulf Hypoxia, a National Problem. This USGS fact sheet provides an introductory synopsis of some of the causes of poor water quality in the Gulf of Mexico. The dead zone is caused by increased nutrients from the Mississippi River, especially nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers, animal wastes, and domestic sewage. This fact sheet answers general questions such as what, where, and why a dead zone exists as well as approaches to the zone’s remediation. The site also features maps of the watershed and dead zone. (more info)
  • The Chesapeake Bay's Dead Zone. This Chesapeake Bay Foundation fact sheet provides information regarding the cause and growth of the Chesapeake Bay dead zone. The site also addresses possible solutions to the hypoxia and includes a hotlink to the Chesapeake 2000 agreement, which documents the plan for improving water quality in the bay. This site features color diagrams of the dead zone as well as graphs of the dissolved oxygen content. (more info)
  • The Dead Zones: Oxygen-Starved Coastal Waters. This Environmental Health Perspectives article provides introductory information regarding the low-oxygen waters of the Mississippi River delta. It explores possible causes of the dead zone such as nutrient influx, algal blooms, and climate change. It also addresses the need for remediation and what is currently being done to reverse the eutrophication. This article features color maps of the dead zone and drainage basin as well as color diagrams of the nutrient cycle, explaining how nutrient enrichment may lead to hypoxia. (more info)
  • nsf.gov - Dead Zones - Special Report. This website, from the National Science Foundation, provides video and articles related to dead zones as well as offers a list of related links for more information about dead zones. (more info)



Other Dead Zone Collections




Advanced Collection: Compiled for professionals and advanced learners, this dead zone collection includes resources such as journal articles, academic reviews, and surveys.



For Educators: This dead zone collection includes activities, assignments, and reading materials created specifically for educators.




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Additional Resources



For additional resources about dead zones, search the Microbial Life collection.