NOAA, USGS and partners predict third largest Gulf of Mexico summer ‘dead zone’ ever
"Larger-than-average low and no oxygen area may affect the region’s shrimp fisheries
Federal scientists forecast that this summer’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – will be approximately 8,185 square miles, or about the size of New Jersey.
This would be the third largest dead zone recorded since monitoring began 32 years ago – the average Gulf dead zone since then has been 5,309 square miles.
The Gulf’s hypoxic or low-oxygen zones are caused by excess nutrient pollution, primarily from human activities such as agriculture and wastewater treatment. The excess nutrients stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which then sinks and decomposes in the water. The resulting low oxygen levels are insufficient to support most marine life and habitats in near-bottom waters, threatening the Gulf’s fisheries. [...]"
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Community composition of nitrous oxide consuming bacteria in the oxygen minimum zone of the Eastern Tropical South Pacific
"The ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O), is mainly consumed by the microbially mediated anaerobic process, denitrification. N2O consumption is the last step in canonical denitrification, and is also the least O2 tolerant step. Community composition of total and active N2O consuming bacteria was analyzed based on total (DNA) and transcriptionally active (RNA) nitrous oxide reductase (nosZ) genes using a functional gene microarray. The total and active nosZ communities were dominated by a limited number of nosZ archetypes, affiliated with bacteria from marine, soil and marsh environments. [...]"
Source: Frontiers in Microbiology
Authors: Xin Sun, Amal Jayakumar and Bess B. Ward
Sensitivity of Future Ocean Acidification to Carbon Climate Feedbacks
"Carbon-climate feedbacks have the potential to significantly impact the future climate by altering atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Zaehle et al., 2010). By modifying the future atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the carbon-climate feedbacks will also influence the future trajectory for ocean acidification. Here, we use the CO2 emissions scenarios from 4 Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) with an Earth System Model to project the future trajectories of ocean acidification with the inclusion of carbon-climate feedbacks. [...]"
Source: Biogeosciences (under review)
Authors: Richard J. Matear and Andrew Lenton
NOAA, USGS and partners predict larger summer ‘dead zone’ for the Chesapeake Bay
"Scientists expect this year’s summer Chesapeake Bay hypoxic or “dead zone” — an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and aquatic life — will be larger than average, approximately 1.89 cubic miles, or nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
Measurements for the Bay’s dead zone go back to 1950, and the 30-year mean maximum dead zone volume is 1.74 cubic miles. [...]"
Source: U.S. Geological Survey
Stormy waters: the salmon farmer trying to limit fishing and save the ocean
In the 1980s, protests over the proposed Franklin River hydroelectric dam threw the Apple Isle’s conservation plight onto the national stage. This time, it is the state’s salmon farming industry that is under a cloud. The relatively young industry is worth over $700m a year and now outpaces all other farming activities on the island but environmental campaigners are worried about its impact on the region’s pristine waters. [...]"
Source: The Guardian
Environmental Research in Macquarie Harbour (Progress Report)
"This report provides an update on the status of dissolved oxygen and benthic conditions in Macquarie Harbour. It follows on from the results reported in the IMAS report released in January 2017 which described the deterioration of benthic and water column conditions in Macquarie Harbour in spring 2016. This report presents the results and preliminary interpretation of oxygen monitoring data up until the end of March 2017, and a repeat survey of benthic communities in January/February 2017. [...]"
Source: The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
Authors: Jeff Ross and Catriona Macleod
Eutrophication-Driven Deoxygenation in the Coastal Ocean
"Human activities, especially increased nutrient loads that set in motion a cascading chain of events related to eutrophication, accelerate development of hypoxia (lower oxygen concentration) in many areas of the world’s coastal ocean. Climate changes and extreme weather events may modify hypoxia. Organismal and fisheries effects are at the heart of the coastal hypoxia issue, but more subtle regime shifts and trophic interactions are also cause for concern. The chemical milieu associated with declining dissolved oxygen concentrations affects the biogeochemical cycling of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, silica, trace metals, and sulfide as observed in water column processes, shifts in sediment biogeochemistry, and increases in carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, as well as shifts in their stable isotopes, in recently accumulated sediments."
Source: Oceanography Volume 27 (2014)
Authors: Nancy N. Rabalais et al.
Nutrients that limit growth in the ocean
"Phytoplankton form the basis of the marine food web and are responsible for approximately half of global carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation (∼ 50 Pg of carbon per year). Thus, these microscopic, photosynthetic organisms are vital in controlling the atmospheric CO2 concentration and Earth’s climate. Phytoplankton are dependent on sunlight and their CO2-fixation activity is therefore restricted to the upper, sunlit surface ocean (that is, the euphotic zone). CO2 usually does not limit phytoplankton growth due to its high concentration in seawater. [...]"
Source: Current Biology
Authors: Laura A. Bristow
As CO2 Goes Up, Ocean Health Goes Down
"June 8th is World Oceans Day, a day to raise awareness of the ocean’s importance to the planet. 93 percent of the excess heat absorbed by the climate system goes into our oceans, creating major consequences. While more extreme storms and rising sea levels are some of the impacts of warmer oceans, rising CO2 levels and the resulting warmer oceans are impacting ocean health itself. The most wellknown effects are coral bleaching and ocean acidification, but an emerging issue is the decreasing oxygen levels in the warming waters. [...]"
Source: Climate Central
Less oxygen in a warmer ocean
Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2017GL073613 (2017)."
Author: H. Jesse Smith