Water-Related News

‘Dead zone’ identified off Sanibel

A "dead zone," an underwater patch with no plant, or animal life, has been found off the coast of Sanibel by Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation scientists.

Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation Research Scientist Dr. Rick Bartleson said about two weeks ago they started noticing the "dead zone" off the Sanibel coast. He said there is no oxygen in the water about 3 to 5 meters down to the surface, in some places all the way down to the bottom in about 8 meters of water.

"It's a pretty large area. There is no life on the bottom, plant, or animal life," Bartleson said Thursday afternoon. "We do not know the boundaries exactly, or know if the oxygen levels have gone up since last week's storm."

He said it is hard to determine where the dead zone is located, exactly.

"We don't know if the oxygen levels are still low or not," Bartleson said.

The dead zone is associated with freshwater runoff, which includes a lot of nutrients in the water. With algae blooms killing marine life, it will accelerate the oxygen demand.