- What do sea animals and plants need to survive in the water?
- What allows large quantities of algae to “bloom” in coastal waters? And why is the growth of these communities a good thing or a bad thing?
- What is a dead zone?
- How many dead zones have scientists at the World Resources Institute found in the world?
- Name three sources of the extra nutrients that enter the ocean because of people.
- What are phytoplankton? How do they trigger dead zones?
- What eats phytoplankton when they die?
- Why do dead zones often form in spring and summer?
- How long do dead zones last?
- Where does the pollution that causes the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone come from?
- Why was the 2011 dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico not as big as scientists thought it would be?
- Where do natural dead zones occur? How are they different from the ones caused by people?
- Explain why the dead zone near Oregon’s coast may be forming.
- Name three reasons why the Chesapeake Bay’s dead zone is getting smaller.
- How many dead zones are improving, according to the World Resources Institute?
- Plants and animals need nutrients to live. But too many nutrients can cause dead zones. Can you think of any other situations when too much of a necessary substance causes problems? (Hint: think about global warming)
- Why is it important for society to try to fix dead zones?
- What types of changes would you recommend that communities could undertake to slow the flow of nutrients into coastal ocean waters?
- Do you think the costs associated with these changes would make sense? (Hint: What do you think the costs might be of letting big dead zones continue to form?)
- Make an argument (at least three paragraphs long) explaining why farmers should — or shouldn’t — have to pay the full cost of reducing nutrient fertilizer off of farmlands by themselves (as opposed to having tax dollars help pay their costs). One thing to consider: Society as a whole benefits from farm products, not just farmers.