Dead zones are areas in the ocean with little-to-no oxygen in the water. The causes for dead zones are various, but the effects are grave. The most serious effect of a low-oxygen dead zone is the decrease in size of the reproductive organs of fish. Because the fishes’ reproduction is inhibited (the chemical process by which sex hormones are produced in fish requires oxygen), the fish die out over time without replenishing their numbers. And when some species start to die out, it destroys the food chain that the entire ecosystem is based on. Another effect of the dead zone is that bottom dwellers (snails, starfish, worms, and crabs to name a few) are unable to escape the oxygen-poor waters, and so they die.
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