Dead Zones

Some eutrophic lakes (and coastal regions of the ocean) may develop what is referred to as dead zones in the summer. Dead Zones are areas without enough dissolved oxygen to support fish or zooplankton. Lake Erie is especially prone to developing dead zones. This lesson explores what contributes to dead zones, how it can affect the life in a lake and where and how to spot one using data clues.


  • Explain why and how dead zones affect aquatic organisms.
  • Describe how human activities may contribute to the creation of dead zones.
  • Use graphs to investigate the size and location of the dead zone in Lake Erie.
  • Communicate conclusions about the size and location of the dead zones using evidence.

External Curriculum Materials


Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: , , ,