Dead zones — where animals suffocate and die — found in the Atlantic’s open waters

Elahe Izadi reports: Not much can survive in a “dead zone.” These aquatic areas have such a low concentrations of oxygen that marine life either dies or leaves.

Many of these lifeless areas crop up near coastlines, where people live and hazardous chemicals make their way into the water. Now, a group of German and Canadian researchers have discovered dead zones in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, which they say is a first. They observed the area for seven years and published their findings Thursday in the journal Biogeosciences.

Researchers found these particular dead zones in tropical North Atlantic waters, hundreds of miles from West Africa. Some of them were spotted north of Cape Verde’s islands.

“It is not unlikely that an open-ocean dead zone will hit the island at some point,” lead author Johannes Karstensen, a researcher at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany said in a statement. “This could cause the coast to be flooded with low-oxygen water, which may put severe stress on the coastal ecosystems and may even provoke fish kills and the die-off of other marine life.” [Continue reading…]

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