For the first time, in a startling major discovery, marine biologists have confirmed the existence of “dead zones” in the open ocean.
Dead zones are areas in the deep characterize by a lack of dissolved oxygen wherein marine creatures cannot survive.
Not only normally found along occupied coastal areas, a lot of dead zones are also located off the eastern and southern coasts of the U.S. and the Baltic Sea. Probable causes of dead zones are fertilizer runoffs and pollution, which are man-made in nature which triggers a massive algal blooms.
The first deep ocean dead zone was discovered by Canadian and German researchers not more than 100 kilometers from the archipelago of Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean just off West Africa in huge whirlpools moving towards the Atlantic.
The slow moving whirlpools could elicit substantial fish kills and economic devastation among Western African countries.
Lead study author, Dr. Johannes Karstensen from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel whose work was published in the journal, Biogeosciences said, “It is not unlikely that an open-ocean dead zone will hit the (Cape Verde) islands at some point,”
Located inside ocean vortexes or spinning cylinders of the ocean, most dead pools have sizes of at least 150 kilometers across and several hundred meters deep.
Weather.com said that whirlpool or eddy is created when an unstable current along the West African coast pushed slowly towards the westward direction by the Earth’s rotation.
The concentration of oxygen levels in the dead zone areas is up to 20 times lower as compared to the previously recorded minimums in the North Atlantic, rendering the areas uninhabitable to all forms of marine life other than a few microorganisms.
When oxygen is consumed by the bacteria as they eat dead algae that sink on the sea bed, then coastal dead zones are formed. Dr Karstensen said the deep ocean zones appear to be operating in a similar manner.
This alarming discovery of warming oceans has amplified concerns that the first open ocean dead zone might trigger an increase in the more than 400 known dead zones worldwide, as there has been an explosion of a disturbing number and size of marine dead zones which have grown explosively over the past half-century.