N2 production rates limited by nitrite availability in the Bay of Bengal oxygen minimum zone


A third or more of the fixed nitrogen lost from the oceans as N2 is removed by anaerobic microbial processes in open ocean oxygen minimum zones. These zones have expanded over the past decades, and further anthropogenically induced expansion could accelerate nitrogen loss. However, in the Bay of Bengal there has been no indication of nitrogen loss, although oxygen levels are below the detection level of conventional methods (1 to 2 μM). Here we quantify the abundance of microbial genes associated with N2 production, measure nitrogen transformations in incubations of sampled seawater with isotopically labelled nitrogen compounds and analyse geochemical signatures of these processes in the water column. We find that the Bay of Bengal supports denitrifier and anammox microbial populations, mediating low, but significant N loss.

Source: Nature Geoscience
Authors: L. A. Bristow et al.
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2847

Read the full article here.

NCCOS: Price of Shrimp Impacted by Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone”

The low oxygen conditions slow shrimp growth, leading to fewer and more expensive large shrimp.




The Guardian: Bay of Bengal: depleted fish stocks and huge dead zone signal tipping point

"Long treated as a bottomless resource pit, over-exploitation of the ocean, pollution and rising sea levels are having a catastrophic impact on life in the bay."



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