Shedding New Light on the Nitrogen Cycle in the Dark Ocean
"Every year, the Mississippi River dumps around 1.4 million metric tons of nitrogen into the Gulf of Mexico, much of it runoff from agricultural fertilizer. This nitrogen can lead to algal blooms, which in turn deplete oxygen concentrations in the water, creating hypoxic dead zones. The nitrogen cycle is a phenomenon environmental scientists would really like to understand better. “As humans, we do put a lot of reactive nitrogen compounds into the ocean, especially in coastal regions, by…river runoff,” said Katharina Kitzinger of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. “It’s really crucial to understand how microbes turn over this excess nitrogen that we put into the environment. [...]”"