All You Need to Know About the Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’

Written by on October 21, 2012 in Marine Life
The red represents the 'dead zone' in the gulf. Image credit: NOAA.

The red represents the ‘dead zone’ in the gulf. Image credit: NOAA.

What exactly is a dead zone?

The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone has been in the news on many different occasions.  Sometimes the articles warn us that it’s the biggest dead zone we’ve ever seen (like this one); others say that the situation is not as bad as we thought (like this one); some say we just don’t know (like this one).

In general, a dead zone is an area of water where the level of dissolved oxygen is lower than it should be.  It is called a ‘dead zone’ because most marine life dies from lack of oxygen, or leaves the area.

To learn more, check out this New York Times Q & A (“Tracking a Worrisome Dead Zone“) with ecologist Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.  The interview covers all aspects of dead zones and related research efforts.

Some other helpful links:

Another representation of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. Image credit: NOAA.

Another representation of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. Image credit: NOAA.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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