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Water column biogeochemistry of oxygen minimum zones in the eastern tropical North Atlantic and eastern tropical South Pacific Oceans

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Callbeck,  C. M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Lavik,  G.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Löscher, C. R., Bange, H. W., Schmitz, R. A., Callbeck, C. M., Engel, A., Hauss, H., et al. (2016). Water column biogeochemistry of oxygen minimum zones in the eastern tropical North Atlantic and eastern tropical South Pacific Oceans. Biogeosciences, 12: 1, pp. 4495-4556.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C464-1
Abstract
Recent modeling results suggest that oceanic oxygen levels will decrease significantly over the next decades to centuries in response to climate change and altered ocean circulation. Hence the future ocean may experience major shifts in nutrient cycling triggered by the expansion and intensification of tropical oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). There are numerous feedbacks between oxygen concentrations, nutrient cycling and biological productivity; however, existing knowledge is insufficient to understand physical, chemical and biological interactions in order to adequately assess past and potential future changes. We investigated the pelagic biogeochemistry of OMZs in the eastern tropical North Atlantic and eastern tropical South Pacific during a series of cruise expeditions and mesocosm studies. The following summarizes the current state of research on the influence of low environmental oxygen conditions on marine biota, viruses, organic matter formation and remineralization with a particular focus on the nitrogen cycle in OMZ regions. The impact of sulfidic events on water column biogeochemistry, originating from a specific microbial community capable of highly efficient carbon fixation, nitrogen turnover and N2O production is further discussed. Based on our findings, an important role of sinking particulate organic matter in controlling the nutrient stochiometry of the water column is suggested. These particles can enhance degradation processes in OMZ waters by acting as microniches, with sharp gradients enabling different processes to happen in close vicinity, thus altering the interpretation of oxic and anoxic environments.