Gulf of Mexico Deadzone

Intaglio and Linocut Chine-Collé, 38 x 28 cm, 2010

Dead zones form where excess nutrients such as fertilizers and sewage, are carried into the ocean by rivers. These nutrients, carried into the Gulf of Mexico by the Mississippi River, feed microscopic algae creating large algae blooms. The algae are then decomposed by bacteria, which deplete the oxygen levels in the water. Fish flee from the low oxygen areas but bottom-dwelling animals that can’t escape suffocate or experience severe stress. Large amounts of dead crabs have washed ashore from dead zone areas. Jellyfish and microbes seem to be the only animals that can survive in these “hypoxic” or low-oxygen circumstances. The pollution resulting from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf is an additional burden on an already severely compromised ecosystem.

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