News

Ocean deoxygenation: Time for action

"In their Review "Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters" [...] D. Breitburg et al. summarize evidence showing that oxygen has declined in the open ocean and in coastal waters over the past 50 years as a result of increased greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient discharges to coastal waters. We also urgently need more data on the role and speed of microbial engagement, including how deoxygenation is altering microbial pathways and rates of processes within the water column and the deep ocean. [...]" 

Source: Science
Authors: Sylvia A. Earle et al.
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0167

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Climate Change Projected to Exacerbate Impacts of Coastal Eutrophication in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

Abstract.

"The continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Mexico experiences expansive seasonal hypoxic conditions and eutrophication‐driven acidification in bottom waters. Rising surface ocean temperatures, freshwater and nutrient inputs, and atmospheric CO2 will further exacerbate these conditions. Using a high‐resolution, regional circulation‐biogeochemical model, we simulated the spatio‐temporal dynamics of oxygen and inorganic carbon in the northern Gulf of Mexico under present and a projected future (2100) climate state. [...]"

Source: Oceans (AGU Journal)
Authors: Arnaud Laurent et al.
DOI: 10.1002/2017JC013583

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NCCOS and NGI Lead Seventh Annual Hypoxia Research Coordination Workshop

"NCCOS is working with the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) and Gulf of Mexico State partners to develop a robust and sustainable Gulf of Mexico-wide monitoring program for hypoxia. At the 7th Annual Hypoxia Research Coordination Workshop, planning continued for a Cooperative Hypoxia Assessment and Monitoring Program.

The Cooperative Hypoxia Assessment and Monitoring Program (CHAMP) is a bottom-up effort comprised of State (LA, AL/MS, TX) and issue-based workgroups. Eight workgroups (Fisheries, Louisiana-Mississippi/Alabama-Texas state monitoring, autonomous vehicles, Hypoxia Task Force, Oil/Gas and Ocean Acidification, and Gulf Restoration) identify and pursue leveraging and support opportunities within their local focus areas, benefiting the entire Gulf region. [...]"

Source: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)
Author: Alan Lewitus

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Gulf of Mexico dead zone not expected to shrink anytime soon

"Achieving water quality goals for the Gulf of Mexico may take decades, according to findings by researchers at the University of Waterloo.

The results, which appear in Science, suggest that policy goals for reducing the size of the northern Gulf of Mexico's dead zone may be unrealistic, and that major changes in agricultural and river management practices may be necessary to achieve the desired improvements in water quality.

The transport of large quantities of nitrogen from rivers and streams across the North American corn belt has been linked to the development of a large dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where massive algal blooms lead to oxygen depletion, making it difficult for marine life to survive.

"Despite the investment of large amounts of money in recent years to improve water quality, the area of last year's dead zone was more than 22,000 km2—about the size of the state of New Jersey," said Kimberly Van Meter, lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Waterloo. [...]"

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Global niche of marine anaerobic metabolisms expanded by particle microenvironments

Abstract.

"In ocean waters, anaerobic microbial respiration should be confined to the anoxic waters found in coastal regions and tropical oxygen minimum zones, where it is energetically favourable. However, recent molecular and geochemical evidence has pointed to a much broader distribution of denitrifying and sulfate-reducing microbes. [...]"

Source: Nature Geoscience
Authors: Daniele Bianchi et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41561-018-0081-0

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Decreased oxygen levels could present hidden threat to marine species

"Scientists have shown that creatures which develop in hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions in the marine environment could experience previously unseen hindered development, and become compromised as adults. [...]

The prevalence of hypoxic (low oxygen) areas in coastal waters is predicted to increase in the future, both in terms of their scale and duration. And while the adults of many estuarine invertebrates can cope with short periods of hypoxia, it has previously been unclear whether that ability is present if animals are bred and reared under chronic hypoxia.[...]"

Source: Sciencedaily.com (University of Plymouth)

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Short-term acclimation in adults does not predict offspring acclimation potential to hypoxia

Abstract.

"The prevalence of hypoxic areas in coastal waters is predicted to increase and lead to reduced biodiversity. While the adult stages of many estuarine invertebrates can cope with short periods of hypoxia, it remains unclear whether that ability is present if animals are bred and reared under chronic hypoxia. We firstly investigated the effect of moderate, short-term environmental hypoxia (40% air saturation for one week) on metabolic performance in adults of an estuarine amphipod, and the fitness consequences of prolonged exposure. [...]"

Source: Scientific Reports
Authors: Manuela Truebano et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-21490-y

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Coccolithovirus facilitation of carbon export in the North Atlantic

Abstract.

"Marine phytoplankton account for approximately half of global primary productivity, making their fate an important driver of the marine carbon cycle. Viruses are thought to recycle more than one-quarter of oceanic photosynthetically fixed organic carbon, which can stimulate nutrient regeneration, primary production and upper ocean respiration2 via lytic infection and the ‘virus shunt’. [...]"

Source: Nature Microbiology
Authors: Christien P. Laber
DOI: 10.1038/s41564-018-0128-4

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Oxic Fe(III) reduction could have generated Fe(II) in the photic zone of Precambrian seawater

Abstract.

"Many marine Precambrian iron formations (IF) record deep anoxic seawater enriched in Fe(II) (i.e. ferruginous) overlain by mildly oxygenated surface water. This is reflected by iron-rich sediments forming in deep basins, and relatively iron-poor sediments forming in shallow, sunlit waters. Such an iron gradient is often interpreted as a redox interface where dissolved Fe(II) was oxidized and precipitated as Fe(III)-bearing minerals. As such, sedimentary iron enrichments are proxy to the progressive oxidation of the oceans through geological time. [...]"

Source: Scientific Reportsvolume
Authors: Elizabeth D. Swanner
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-22694-y

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The influence of the ocean circulation state on ocean carbon storage and CO2 drawdown potential in an Earth system model

Abstract.

"During the four most recent glacial cycles, atmospheric CO2 during glacial maxima has been lowered by about 90–100 ppm with respect to interglacials. There is widespread consensus that most of this carbon was partitioned in the ocean. It is, however, still debated which processes were dominant in achieving this increased carbon storage. In this paper, we use an Earth system model of intermediate complexity to explore the sensitivity of ocean carbon storage to ocean circulation state. We carry out a set of simulations in which we run the model to pre-industrial equilibrium, but in which we achieve different states of ocean circulation by changing forcing parameters such as wind stress, ocean diffusivity and atmospheric heat diffusivity. [...]"

Source: Biogeosciences
Authors: Malin Ödalen et al.
DOI: 10.5194/bg-15-1367-2018

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