'A bad time to be alive': Study links ocean deoxygenation to ancient die-off
"In a new study, Stanford researchers have strongly bolstered the theory that a lack of oxygen in Earth's oceans contributed to a devastating die-off approximately 444 million years ago. The new results further indicate that these anoxic (little- to no-oxygen) conditions lasted over 3 million years—significantly longer than similar biodiversity-crushing spells in our planet's history. Beyond deepening understandings of ancient mass extinction events, the findings have relevance for today: Global climate change is contributing to declining oxygen levels in the open ocean and coastal waters, a process that likely spells doom for a variety of species. [...]"
Autotrophic Carbon Fixation Pathways Along the Redox Gradient in Oxygen‐Depleted Oceanic Waters
"Anoxic marine zones (AMZs), also known as ‘oxygen‐deficient zones’, contribute to the loss of fixed nitrogen from the ocean by anaerobic microbial processes. While these microbial processes associated with the nitrogen cycle have been extensively studied, those linked to the carbon cycle in AMZs have received much less attention, particularly the autotrophic carbon fixation —a crucial component of the carbon cycle. [...]"
Source: Environmental Microbiology Reports
Authors: Paula Ruiz‐Fernández et al.
Stable aerobic and anaerobic coexistence in anoxic marine zones
"Mechanistic description of the transition from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism is necessary for diagnostic and predictive modeling of fixed nitrogen loss in anoxic marine zones (AMZs). In a metabolic model where diverse oxygen- and nitrogen-cycling microbial metabolisms are described by underlying redox chemical reactions, we predict a transition from strictly aerobic to predominantly anaerobic regimes as the outcome of ecological interactions along an oxygen gradient, obviating the need for prescribed critical oxygen concentrations. [...]"
Source: The ISME Journal
Authors: Emily J. Zakem et al.
Microbial metabolite fluxes in a model marine anoxic ecosystem
"Permanently anoxic regions in the ocean are widespread and exhibit unique microbial metabolic activity exerting substantial influence on global elemental cycles and climate. Reconstructing microbial metabolic activity rates in these regions has been challenging, due to the technical difficulty of direct rate measurements. In Cariaco Basin, which is the largest permanently anoxic marine basin and an important model system for geobiology, long‐term monitoring has yielded time series for the concentrations of biologically important compounds; however, the underlying metabolite fluxes remain poorly quantified. [...]"
Authors: Stilianos Louca et al.
Global niche of marine anaerobic metabolisms expanded by particle microenvironments
"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.
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Insights into the metabolic functioning of a multipartner ciliate symbiosis from oxygen-depleted sediments
"Symbioses between anaerobic or microaerophilic protists and prokaryotes are common in anoxic and oxygen-depleted habitats ranging from marine sediments to gastrointestinal tracts. Nevertheless, little is known about the mechanisms of metabolic interaction between partners. In these putatively syntrophic associations, consumption of fermentative end products (e.g., hydrogen) by the prokaryotic symbionts is thought to facilitate protistan anaerobic metabolism. [...]"
Source: Molecular Ecology
Authors: R. A. Beinart et al.
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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.