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Review the following case study on the dead zone in the Gulf

Review the following case study on the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico from your textbook, Visualizi… Show more Review the following case study on the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico from your textbook, Visualizing Environmental Science (p. 291). Nitrogen and phosphorus from the Mississippi River—products of fertilizer and manure runoff from midWestern fields and livestock operations—are deemed largely responsible for a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Except for bacteria that thrive in oxygen-free environments, no life exists in the dead zone because the water there does not contain enough dissolved oxygen to support fishes or other aquatic organisms. Dead zones form seasonally worldwide; more than 405 occur along global coastlines. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone, one of the largest in the ocean, extends from the seafloor up into the water column, sometimes to within a few meters of the surface. In 2008, it covered about 21,000 km2 (8000 mi2 ), an area the size of New Jersey. It generally persists from March to September. In March and April, snowmelt and spring rains flow from the Mississippi River into the Gulf, and the dead zone is most severe during June–August. The low-oxygen condition in a dead zone, known as hypoxia, occurs when algae grow rapidly because of the presence of nutrients in the water. Dead algae sink to the bottom and are decomposed by bacteria, which deplete the water of dissolved oxygen, leaving too little for other sea life. Scientists are now seeing evidence that ocean warming induced by global climate change may be exacerbating dead zones. Dead zones, including the one in the Gulf of Mexico, are expanding; they are emerging closer to shore than ever before and are forming even in areas of the ocean that don’t receive agricultural runoff. Increased frequency and size of dead zones threaten biodiversity and harm coastal fisheries. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has taken some measures to control nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the Mississippi River but recognizes that the dead zone problem is immense in scope and will take billions of dollars and decades of efforts to fix. Address the following: ? Analyze and describe sources of water pollution. You may use images to support your analysis. ? Explain how the dead zone affects ocean life. ? Describe a mitigation strategy or strategies for dead zones. • Show less

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