New Website – Eutrophication & Hypoxia: Nutrient Pollution in Coastal Waters

By World Resources Institute

WRI in collaboration with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is pleased to announce the launch of the new websiteEutrophication & Hypoxia: Nutrient Pollution in Coastal Waters. The purpose of the website is to exchange information and improve data, provide media resources, and create a network of scientists and policymakers around these issues. The website has the following features:

  • Interactive map of eutrophic and hypoxic areas worldwide. Click on eutrophic areas and read descriptions of the area, as well as photos and videos linked to the site;
  • Photos and videos that illustrate the impacts, sources and drivers of eutrophication and hypoxia;
  • Current news stories about eutrophication and hypoxia;
  • Resource library with over a thousand links to websites, reports and online tools;
  • Listing of upcoming conferences and events on the subject of eutrophication and hypoxia; and
  • “About Eutrophication” pages to convey the impacts, sources, drivers and solutions to eutrophication and hypoxia.

See New Web-Based Map Tracks Marine "Dead Zones" Worldwide and visit the website

What is Eutrophication & Hypoxia?

Eutrophication is the over-enrichment of water by nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. It is a leading threat to water quality around the world. Also known as “nutrient pollution,” eutrophication upsets the natural balance of aquatic ecosystems, which can lead to algal blooms, red tides, hypoxic or “dead” zones, fish kills, and, eventually, ecosystem collapse. New research by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) identifies over 535 “dead zones” and an additional 228 sites exhibiting signs of eutrophication worldwide.

The 535 areas and 228 sites together encompass more than 95,000 square miles, about the size of New Zealand. The largest dead zone in the U.S., at the mouth of the Mississippi, covers more than 8,500 square miles, roughly the size of New Jersey. A large dead zone also underlies much of the main-stem of Chesapeake Bay, which occupies about 40 percent of the Bay’s area and up to 5 percent of its volume each summer.

Today nearly half of the world’s population lives within 60 kilometers of the coast, with many communities relying directly on coastal ecosystems for their livelihoods. This means that a significant portion of the world’s population is vulnerable to the effects of eutrophication in their local coastal ecosystems. Eutrophication is directly and indirectly linked to toxic red tides which can lead to shellfish closures and other adverse fisheries impacts, nuisance algal blooms that impact aesthetics and tourism, jellyfish blooms which can displace commercial fisheries, and eventually can lead to dead zones and ecosystem collapse.

Contact information: Mindy Selman, and Dr. Robert Diaz,