News

The Ocean is losing its breath: declining oxygen in the world's ocean and coastal waters; summary for policy makers

"Oxygen is critical to the health of the ocean. It structures aquatic ecosystems, impacts the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen and other key elements, and is a fundamental requirement for marine life from the intertidal zone to the greatest depths of the ocean." [...]

Source: UNESCO (UNESDOC)
Authors: Denise Breitburg et al.

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How ocean warmth triggers glacial melting far away

"The melting of glaciers on one side of the globe can trigger disintegration of glaciers on the other side of the globe, as has been presented in a recent paper by a team of AWI scientists, who investigated marine microalgae preserved in glacial deposits and subsequently used their findings to perform climate simulations. The study highlights a process with alerting consequences for modern ice sheets: continuous warming of the ocean can result in a massive loss of polar ice mass, and consequently to rapid sea level rise."

Source: Science Daily

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North Pacific freshwater events linked to changes in glacial ocean circulation

Abstract.

"There is compelling evidence that episodic deposition of large volumes of freshwater into the oceans strongly influenced global ocean circulation and climate variability during glacial periods. In the North Atlantic region, episodes of massive freshwater discharge to the North Atlantic Ocean were related to distinct cold periods known as Heinrich Stadials. [...]"

Source: Nature
Authors: E. Maier et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0276-y

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Early Palaeozoic ocean anoxia and global warming driven by the evolution of shallow burrowing

Abstract.

"The evolution of burrowing animals forms a defining event in the history of the Earth. It has been hypothesised that the expansion of seafloor burrowing during the Palaeozoic altered the biogeochemistry of the oceans and atmosphere. However, whilst potential impacts of bioturbation on the individual phosphorus, oxygen and sulphur cycles have been considered, combined effects have not been investigated, leading to major uncertainty over the timing and magnitude of the Earth system response to the evolution of bioturbation. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Sebastiaan van de Velde et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04973-4

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Will ocean zones with low oxygen levels expand or shrink?

"Computer simulations show that areas of the ocean that have low levels of dissolved oxygen will expand, but then shrink, in response to global warming — adding to an emerging picture of the finely balanced processes involved.

Global warming has reduced the amount of dissolved oxygen in the ocean by 2% since 1960. A major concern is that the rate of loss of dissolved oxygen has already increased by up to 20% in tropical waters, expanding the volume of regions called oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), where levels of dissolved oxygen are already very low."

Source: Nature
Authors: Laure Resplandy
DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-05034-y

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The possible roles of algae in restricting the increase in atmospheric CO2 and global temperature

Abstract.

"Anthropogenic inputs are increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere, and the CO2 and total inorganic C in the surface ocean and, to a lesser degree, the deep ocean. The greenhouse effect of the increased CO2 (and, to a lesser extent, other greenhouse gases) is very probably the major cause of present global warming. The warming increases temperature of the atmosphere and the surface ocean to a greater extent than the deep ocean, with shoaling of the thermocline, decreasing nutrient flux to the surface ocean where there is greater mean photosynthetic photon flux density. [...]"

Source: European Journal of Phycology 
Author: John A. Raven
DOI: 10.1080/09670262.2017.1362593

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Oxic-anoxic regime shifts mediated by feedbacks between biogeochemical processes and microbial community dynamics

Abstract.

"Although regime shifts are known from various ecosystems, the involvement of microbial communities is poorly understood. Here we show that gradual environmental changes induced by, for example, eutrophication or global warming can induce major oxic-anoxic regime shifts. We first investigate a mathematical model describing interactions between microbial communities and biogeochemical oxidation-reduction reactions. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Timothy Bush et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00912-x

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Sound physiological knowledge and principles in modeling shrinking of fishes under climate change

Abstract.

"One of the main expected responses of marine fishes to ocean warming is decrease in body size, as supported by evidence from empirical data and theoretical modeling. The theoretical underpinning for fish shrinking is that the oxygen supply to large fish size cannot be met by their gills, whose surface area cannot keep up with the oxygen demand by their three-dimensional bodies. [...]"

Source: Global Change Biology
Authors: Daniel Pauly, William W. L. Cheung
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13831

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Ecological Energetic Perspectives on Responses of Nitrogen-Transforming Chemolithoautotrophic Microbiota to Changes in the Marine Environment

"Transformation and mobilization of bioessential elements in the biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere constitute the Earth's biogeochemical cycles, which are driven mainly by microorganisms through their energy and material metabolic processes. Without microbial energy harvesting from sources of light and inorganic chemical bonds for autotrophic fixation of inorganic carbon, there would not be sustainable ecosystems in the vast ocean. Although ecological energetics (eco-energetics) has been emphasized as a core aspect of ecosystem analyses and microorganisms largely control the flow of matter and energy in marine ecosystems, marine microbial communities are rarely studied from the eco-energetic perspective. [...]"

Source: Frontiers in Microbiology
Authors: Hongyue Dang and Chen-Tung A. Chen
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01246

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