Microbial eukaryote diversity in the marine oxygen minimum zone off northern Chile
"Molecular surveys are revealing diverse eukaryotic assemblages in oxygen-limited ocean waters. These communities may play pivotal ecological roles through autotrophy, feeding, and a wide range of symbiotic associations with prokaryotes. We used 18S rRNA gene sequencing to provide the first snapshot of pelagic microeukaryotic community structure in two cellular size fractions (0.2–1.6 μm, >1.6 μm) from seven depths through the anoxic oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) off northern Chile. Sequencing of >154,000 amplicons revealed contrasting patterns of phylogenetic diversity across size fractions and depths. Protist and total eukaryote diversity in the >1.6 μm fraction peaked at the chlorophyll maximum in the upper photic zone before declining by ~50% in the OMZ. [...]"
Source: Frontiers in Microbiology
Authors: Darren J. Parris et al.
Spreading Dead Zones and Consequences for Marine Ecosystems
"Dead zones in the coastal oceans have spread exponentially since the 1960s and have serious consequences for ecosystem functioning. The formation of dead zones has been exacerbated by the increase in primary production and consequent worldwide coastal eutrophication fueled by riverine runoff of fertilizers and the burning of fossil fuels. Enhanced primary production results in an accumulation of particulate organic matter, which encourages microbial activity and the consumption of dissolved oxygen in bottom waters. Dead zones have now been reported from more than 400 systems, affecting a total area of more than 245,000 square kilometers, and are probably a key stressor on marine ecosystems."
Source: Science Magazine (2008)
Authors: Robert J. Diaz, Rutger Rosenberg
Microbial oceanography of anoxic oxygen minimum zones
"Vast expanses of oxygen-deficient and nitrite-rich water define the major oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) of the global ocean. They support diverse microbial communities that influence the nitrogen economy of the oceans, contributing to major losses of fixed nitrogen as dinitrogen (N2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) gases. Anaerobic microbial processes, including the two pathways of N2 production, denitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation, are oxygen-sensitive, with some occurring only under strictly anoxic conditions. The detection limit of the usual method (Winkler titrations) for measuring dissolved oxygen in seawater, however, is much too high to distinguish low oxygen conditions from true anoxia. [...]"
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS)
Authors: Osvaldo Ulloa et al.
Reef-building corals thrive within hot-acidified and deoxygenated waters
"Coral reefs are deteriorating under climate change as oceans continue to warm and acidify and thermal anomalies grow in frequency and intensity. In vitro experiments are widely used to forecast reef-building coral health into the future, but often fail to account for the complex ecological and biogeochemical interactions that govern reefs. Consequently, observations from coral communities under naturally occurring extremes have become central for improved predictions of future reef form and function. Here, we present a semi-enclosed lagoon system in New Caledonia characterised by diel fluctuations of hot-deoxygenated water coupled with tidally driven persistently low pH, relative to neighbouring reefs. Coral communities within the lagoon system exhibited high richness (number of species = 20) and cover (24–35% across lagoon sites). [...]"
Source: Scientific Reports
Authors: Emma F. Camp
Ammonium and nitrite oxidation at nanomolar oxygen concentrations in oxygen minimum zone waters
"A major percentage of fixed nitrogen (N) loss in the oceans occurs within nitrite-rich oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) via denitrification and anammox. It remains unclear to what extent ammonium and nitrite oxidation co-occur, either supplying or competing for substrates involved in nitrogen loss in the OMZ core. Assessment of the oxygen (O2) sensitivity of these processes down to the O2 concentrations present in the OMZ core (<10 nmol⋅L−1) is therefore essential for understanding and modeling nitrogen loss in OMZs. We determined rates of ammonium and nitrite oxidation in the seasonal OMZ off Concepcion, Chile at manipulated O2 levels between 5 nmol⋅L−1 and 20 μmol⋅L−1. [...]"
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)
Authors: Laura A. Bristow et al.
An oceanographic, meteorological, and biological ‘perfect storm’ yields a massive fish kill
"Mass mortality events are ephemeral phenomena in marine ecosystems resulting from anthropogenically enhanced and natural processes. A fish kill in King Harbor, Redondo Beach, California, USA, in March 2011 killed ~1.54 × 105 kg of fish and garnered international attention as a marine system out of balance. Here, we present data collected prior to, during, and following the event that describe the oceanographic conditions preceding the event, spatial extent of hypoxia (dissolved oxygen < 1.4 ml l−1), and subsequent recovery of the harbor. In situ sensors within the harbor revealed rapid decreases in dissolved oxygen in surface waters from 7 to 9 March 2011, coincident with the mortality event on 8 March. [...]"
Source: Marine Eco Progress Series
Authors: Beth A. Stauffer et al.
Charcoal evidence that rising atmospheric oxygen terminated Early Jurassic ocean anoxia
"The Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE) was characterized by a major disturbance to the global carbon(C)-cycle, and depleted oxygen in Earth’s oceans resulting in marine mass extinction. Numerical models predict that increased organic carbon burial should drive a rise in atmospheric oxygen (pO2) leading to termination of an OAE after ∼1 Myr. Wildfire is highly responsive to changes in pO2 implying that fire-activity should vary across OAEs. Here we test this hypothesis by tracing variations in the abundance of fossil charcoal across the T-OAE. [...]"
Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Sarah J. Baker et al.
Jurassic drop in ocean oxygen lasted a million years
"Dramatic drops in oceanic oxygen, which cause mass extinctions of sea life, come to a natural end - but it takes about a million years.
The depletion of oxygen in the oceans is known as "anoxia", and scientists from the University of Exeter have been studying how periods of anoxia end.
They found that the drop in oxygen causes more organic carbon to be buried in sediment on the ocean floor, eventually leading to rising oxygen in the atmosphere which ultimately re-oxygenates the ocean."
Source: University of Exeter
Contact: Alex Morrison
Hypoxic induced decrease in oxygen consumption in cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is associated with minor increases in mantle octopine [...]
"The common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis), a dominant species in the north-east Atlantic ocean and Mediterranean Sea, is potentially subject to hypoxic conditions due to eutrophication of coastal waters and intensive aquaculture. Here we initiate studies on the biochemical response to an anticipated level of hypoxia. Cuttlefish challenged for one hour at an oxygen level of 50% dissolved oxygen saturation showed a decrease in oxygen consumption of 37% associated with an 85% increase in ventilation rate. [...]"
Source: Frontiers in Marine Physiology
Authors: Juan C. Capaz et al.
Dissolved Oxygen Sensor in Animal-Borne Instruments: An Innovation for Monitoring the Health of Oceans
"The current decline in dissolved oxygen concentration within the oceans is a sensitive indicator of the effect of climate change on marine environment. However the impact of its declining on marine life and ecosystems’ health is still quite unclear because of the difficulty in obtaining in situ data, especially in remote areas, like the Southern Ocean (SO). Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) proved to be a relevant alternative to the traditional oceanographic platforms to measure physical and biogeochemical structure of oceanic regions rarely observed. In this study, we use a new stage of development in biologging technology to draw a picture of dissolved oxygen concentration in the SO. [...]"
Authors: Frederic Bailleul, Jade Vacquie-Garcia, Christophe Guinet