Reviving Dead Zones
- Dead zones often occur in coastal seas, often near developed countries
- The number of regions affected has doubled since 1990
- Lower oxygen concentrations appear when bacteria consume oxygen to break down the masses of organic matter that result from animal wastes and the dead bodies of organisms that multiply during eutrophication
- Eutrophication leads to phytoplankton blooms, excess bacterial activity at the bottom, oxygen depletion, and the death of existing plants and animals has occurred in almost every dead zone examined by researchers
- Compounds of nitrogen and phosphorus promote plant growth such as phytoplankton, algae, and other photosynthesizers
- Smelly masses of decaying crabs, clams, mussels and fish are washed ashore on the beach
- Dead zones are likely to become even more widespread unless society takes prompt action to reduce plant nutrient runoff from human activity such as fossil fuels usage, sewage system, intensive farming, mass breeding
- Overfishing leads to degradation of the sea's food chain (removing the top predator)
- Commercial fishing leads to imbalance of the food chain where high-value top predators are being taken away and small prey populations are rising and results in low supply of zooplanktons and later phytoplanktons (base of the marine food chain)
- Trophic cascading, an inefficient food chain endengers more organic matter on the sea floor, which enhances the risk of dead zones that will follow
In the 1970's and 1980's, 60 million tons of dead aquatic life were washed up ashore in the Black Sea from hypoxia. "Dead zone" is a more common term for hypoxia, which refers to a reduced level of oxygen in the water. Hypoxic zones are areas in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal life suffocates and dies, and as a result are sometimes called "dead zones." It is caused by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water. This process is known as Eutrophication, which overflows of nitrogen and phosphorus sweeps through the ocean floor and the rapid bloom of algae and phytoplankton occurs. Due to this extravagant growth, these plants that float near the surface deprives the sunlight availability of other living things at the bottom of the ocean by casting a shadow and leaving behind dead organisms. Then the bacteria enters and eats them in which oxygen is being used up. This in turn leaves massive havoc to the whole ecosystem.
Dead zones are definitely not wanted and must be dealt with in a cooperative manner to diminish the compounds of nitrogen and phosphorus as much as possible. By doing this, we not only protect our beloved ocean, but also the entire mankind for the necessary resources of food (esp. those that love seafood a lot) and water (turning into bad quality), and not to mention, the aquatic life down there and its marine food chain. If all bodies of water on Earth was like this, it could mean the extinction of all life in water and us humans included. By spreading awareness of what our activities are doing to the water life to the public and if every leader are to come together and solve the issues, chances of success are higher. It all rests in our hands, mission possible.