How ocean deoxygenation enters the global agenda
A Story of the Collaborative Research Centre "Climate-Biogeochemistry Interactions in the Tropical Ocean"
After 12 years of intensive research, the Collaborative Research Centre 754 "Climate-Biogeochemical Interactions in the Tropical Ocean" ended in winter 2019 with a final symposium in Heiligenhafen.
More than 100 scientists involved in the large-scale project over its entire running time were able to gain numerous new insights into the processes of nutrient cycling, the interaction between ocean and atmosphere and the ecosystems in the tropical oceans. Above all, however, they drew attention to a phenomenon that affects the entire ocean: global oxygen loss and the spread of oxygen minimum zones in the ocean. With this video, the SFB 754 now draws a conclusion and at the same time points out the new research tasks that have resulted from its work. These include improved ocean observation and the question of how to prevent further oxygen loss.
For more information please look at www.sfb754.de
For a german version of the video please follow this link.
Anammox bacteria generate energy from wastewater while taking a breath
"A type of anaerobic bacteria responsible for more than 50 percent of nitrogen loss from marine environments has been shown to use solid-state matter present outside their cells for respiration. The finding by KAUST researchers adds to knowledge of the global nitrogen cycle and has important energy-saving potential for wastewater treatment. [...]"
Slightly smaller-than-average 2020 ‘dead zone’ predicted for Chesapeake Bay
"Researchers from the University of Michigan, the Chesapeake Bay Program and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science are forecasting a slightly smaller-than-average Chesapeake Bay “dead zone” this year, due to reduced rainfall and less nutrient-rich runoff flowing into the bay from the watershed this spring. [...]"
Source: University of Michigan
Larger-than-average ‘dead zone’ expected for Gulf of Mexico
"NOAA scientists are forecasting this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic area or “dead zone” – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – to be approximately 6,700 square miles, larger than the long-term average measured size of 5,387 square miles but substantially less than the record of 8,776 square miles set in 2017. The annual prediction is based on U.S. Geological Survey river-flow and nutrient data. [...]"
Chesapeake Bay water quality declines by four percentage points
"An estimated 38% of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries met clean water standards for clarity, oxygen and algae growth between 2016 and 2018. This score is lower than the record high 42% from the previous reporting period, but is still the fifth highest estimate of water quality standards attainment since 1985. This four percentage point decrease is due in large part to a decline in dissolved oxygen in the open waters of the Bay, those areas beyond the shoreline and shallows. Dissolved oxygen is necessary for the survival of the Bay’s aquatic species, and is a factor in the annual dead zone. [...]"
Shedding New Light on the Nitrogen Cycle in the Dark Ocean
"Every year, the Mississippi River dumps around 1.4 million metric tons of nitrogen into the Gulf of Mexico, much of it runoff from agricultural fertilizer. This nitrogen can lead to algal blooms, which in turn deplete oxygen concentrations in the water, creating hypoxic dead zones. The nitrogen cycle is a phenomenon environmental scientists would really like to understand better. “As humans, we do put a lot of reactive nitrogen compounds into the ocean, especially in coastal regions, by…river runoff,” said Katharina Kitzinger of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. “It’s really crucial to understand how microbes turn over this excess nitrogen that we put into the environment. [...]”"
Ocean deoxygenation could be silently killing coral reefs, scientists say
The cause of this bleaching event was climate change, which brought unusually warm waters to the Great Barrier Reef in February, and disrupted the delicate, symbiotic relationship between the corals and their life-sustaining algae. In general, when sea temperatures rise, corals become stressed and expel algae from their tissues. Without this algae, the corals turn ghostly white and slowly starve. [...]"
'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. [...]"
HKU study shows that control of anthropogenic atmospheric emissions can improve water quality in China’s coastal Seas
"A new research led by MPhil student Miss Yu Yan Yau and supervised by Dr Benoit Thibodeau from the Department of Earth Sciences and the Swire Institute of Marine Science, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), highlighted the importance of reducing fossil fuel combustion not only to curb the trend of global warming, but also to improve the quality of China’s coastal waters. The findings were recently published in the prestigious journal Environmental Science & Technology. [...]"
Source: The University of Hong Kong
Our Vanishing World: Oceans
"As the human onslaught against life on Earth accelerates, no part of the biosphere is left pristine. The simple act of consuming more than we actually need drives the world’s governments and corporations to endlessly destroy more and more of the Earth to extract the resources necessary to satisfy our insatiable desires. In fact, an initiative of the World Economic Forum has just reported that ‘For the first time in history, more than 100 billion tonnes of materials are entering the global economy every year’ – see ‘The Circularity Gap Report 2020’– which means that, on average, every person on Earth uses more than 13 tonnes of materials each year extracted from the Earth. [...]"