Project Title

Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

Presenters

Katie DunlapFollow

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Geography & Anthropology

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Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Uli Ingram

Abstract (300 words maximum)

When a body of water has less oxygen dissolved, it becomes a dead zone. This dead zone is unable to sustain life due to the low oxygen levels. The Gulf of Mexico has the second largest dead zone in the world. Organizations, like NOAA, have been measuring the dead zone for over three decades. The dead zone of 2021 is the sixteenth largest in the thirty-five years. While dead zones occur naturally, why is this dead zone so large? The answer is simple, the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is the longest river in the United States and runs through large amounts of agricultural land, along with numerous urbans areas. The runoff from these areas flows into the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the currents in the Gulf of Mexico, all of the pollutants from the Mississippi River collect in the area just south of the Louisiana and creates a dead zone. The Gulf of Mexico area accounts for forty percent of the nation’s seafood and the growing dead zone is impacting that industry. The population of world is growing, and the mid-west farmlands are having to increase production to keep the people fed. Fertilizers are changing in order to combat drought, insects, and disease, while the pig and cattle farms increase their herd sizes. There must be a solution out there that can allow for the increasing need of food but lower the amount of run-off that is created and washed down into the Gulf of Mexico.

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, asynchronously via recorded video upload

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Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

When a body of water has less oxygen dissolved, it becomes a dead zone. This dead zone is unable to sustain life due to the low oxygen levels. The Gulf of Mexico has the second largest dead zone in the world. Organizations, like NOAA, have been measuring the dead zone for over three decades. The dead zone of 2021 is the sixteenth largest in the thirty-five years. While dead zones occur naturally, why is this dead zone so large? The answer is simple, the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is the longest river in the United States and runs through large amounts of agricultural land, along with numerous urbans areas. The runoff from these areas flows into the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the currents in the Gulf of Mexico, all of the pollutants from the Mississippi River collect in the area just south of the Louisiana and creates a dead zone. The Gulf of Mexico area accounts for forty percent of the nation’s seafood and the growing dead zone is impacting that industry. The population of world is growing, and the mid-west farmlands are having to increase production to keep the people fed. Fertilizers are changing in order to combat drought, insects, and disease, while the pig and cattle farms increase their herd sizes. There must be a solution out there that can allow for the increasing need of food but lower the amount of run-off that is created and washed down into the Gulf of Mexico.

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