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earth science honors project
Updated: 8/30/2020
earth science honors project
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  • Note: The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is a hypoxic area where the oxygen level in the water is too low to support life
  • Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
  • Oliver Shay
  • Hello, I'm farmer Bob and I recently heard about a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Can you tell me about the causes of the dead zone?
  • Runoff then carries the pollutants into bigger bodies of water. These bodies will feed even bigger bodies of water. This ends when the pollutants end up in the ocean.
  • Sure thing Bob. This all starts when fertilizer and excess nutrients from farming operations are collected by runoff.
  • In the ocean the presence of fertilizers and excess nutrients causes algae blooms. The algae then uses up its available resources. This causes a massive die-off.
  • The mass amounts of dead algae then causes a increase of decomposers. The increase of decomposers rapidly depletes the oxygen levels. This creates a hypoxic zone where the oxygen level is too low to suport life.
  • Man, I feel kinda bad about being part of the cause of the dead zone. What can I do to help?
  • All of these solutions center around managing excesses fertilizer and nutrients.
  • There are multiple options when it comes to stopping the cause of the dead zones.
  • One easy solution involves planting and maintaining a permanent vegetative barrier or buffer zone on the exterior of the fields and around any creeks and rivers.
  • Yes, that is what they do. Buffers increase water quality, soil quality, and provide a habitat for other organisms. This improves the overall ecosystem.
  • So the buffers absorb the excesses nutrients and fertilizers instead of the marine ecosystems?
  • Thank you for speaking with me. I now know what I can do to help solve the problem of the dead zone.
  • You're welcome.
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