NSF Releases Online Multimedia Package on Marine “Dead Zones”

By National Science Foundation, NSF
October 8, 2009

The Earth currently has more than 400 so-called "dead zones"–expanses of oxygen-starved ocean covering hundreds, or even thousands, of square miles that become virtually devoid of animal life during the summer; the worldwide count of dead zones is doubling every decade.

Most dead zones, such as the Gulf of Mexico’s notorious dead zone, are caused by pollution that is dumped into oceans by rivers. But every summer since 2002, the Pacific Northwest’s coastal waters–one of the U.S.’s most important fisheries–has been invaded by massive dead zones that are believed to be caused by an entirely different and surprising phenomena: changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation that may, in turn, be caused by climate change.

How could climate change cause dead zones? What do dead zones look like and what are their ecological impacts?  And how, on Earth, are scientists sleuthing out the causes of perplexing marine processes that cover such huge swaths of the sea?  Find out in the National Science Foundation’s new online, multimedia package on dead zones.

Entitled Dead Zones: Mysteries of Ocean Die-Offs Revealed, the multimedia package is posted at http://nsf.gov/news/special_reports/deadzones. It  features:

  • a webcast with Jack Barth, an expert on Oregon’s dead zones from Oregon State University;
  • a dynamic, narrated slide show;
  • compelling videos;
  • eye-catching photos;
  • enlightening illustrations
  • informative, easy-to-understand texts; and
  • downloadable documents. 

Dead Zones: Mysteries of Ocean Die-Offs Revealed is ideal for reporters, general readers, fishermen, water-enthusiasts, teachers, students, researchers and conservation organizations.


Media Contacts
Lily Whiteman, National Science Foundation (703) 292-8310 lwhitema@nsf.gov

Related Websites
Dead Zones: Mysteries of Ocean Die-Offs Revealed: http://nsf.gov/news/special_reports/deadzones

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, its budget is $9.5 billion, which includes $3.0 billion provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to over 1,900 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 44,400 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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