Saturday, January 23, 2016

FOR TEACHERS: What are Marine Dead Zones?

Dead zones are places where biological systems have been severely affected by the loss of oxygen in the water. Although some bacteria flourish feasting on dead plankton and other organisms who cannot otherwise migrate away from the affected area.

Dead zones can occur naturally however it is no coincidence that dead zones are increasing around the world. They occur often at river mouths and receiving waters that are collection points for runoff. Increased human activities have lead to greater amounts of nutrients and other pollutants coming off the land from wind and water. 

The link below is for an educational presentation describing the history of research related to Chesapeake Bay, with an emphasis on new insights into what controls the size of the dead zone, how its size has varied in past, and what we should expect in future decades. There are other case studies of interest also.

For Australian specific information see

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