Gulf Of Mexico Hypoxic Zone

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Hypoxic zones also known as “dead zones” refers to decreased levels of oxygen in the water. Marine life die of suffocation due to the low oxygen concentration in these dead zones, which affects animal life in the ocean. These hypoxic zones occur particularly along the Gulf of Mexico, East Coast, and the Great Lakes. According to Cheryl Lyn Dybas, a journalist who specializes in marine sciences, stated that there are about 146 coastal dead zones worldwide (Dybas). In addition, since the 1960s the number of hypoxic zones has nearly doubled every passing decade (Dybas). Although dead zones can develop naturally, scientists are alarmed about how these zones have been augmented by human activity. Many physical, chemical, and biological factors…show more content…
Malakoff stated that the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is a creature of the Mississippi (Malakoff). Scientist believe the surplus runoff of nutrients from agriculture in the great Mississippi River drainage basin is the result of the Gulf’s dead zone (Dybas). There’s a conflicting collaboration between human productivity and ecosystem health with the hypoxia problem in the Gulf of Mexico (Joyce). According to Joyce, the Mississippi basin is very important economically. She informed that the basin drains about 31 states and 40% of the contiguous United States. In addition, the basin represents nearly 55% of American agricultural lands and 33% of U.S. farm-related jobs and produces over $98 billion annually in agriculture (Joyce). Plus, since 1980 the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers annually discharged 1.6 million metric tons of nitrogen (mostly nitrate), 100,000 metric tons of phosphorous, and 200,000 metric tons of silica into the basin (Joyce). Therefore, about 56% of nitrate enters the Mississippi above the Ohio river in the states where agricultural production is the highest and that eutrophication has compromised water quality in the basin (Joyce). The Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone was not monitored like many of the U.S. coastal ecosystems until water quality degradation was
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