ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A new study finds dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay are getting smaller.

Dead zones are deeper, low-oxygen areas where plants, animals and other organisms can’t live. The zones form in mid- to late-summer fueled by warmer temperatures and pollutants such as fertilizer and farm runoff that spur oxygen-robbing algae blooms.

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Researchers analyzed bay water quality records from the past 60 years. They found the size of the zones leveled off during the 1980s and has been declining since then. They say that coincides with the beginning of efforts to cut pollutants that feed algae blooms.

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The study appearing in the November issue of the journal Estuaries and Coasts was conducted by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Johns Hopkins University.

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