In marine oxygen (O2) minimum zones (OMZs), the transfer of particulate organic carbon (POC) to depth via the biological carbon pump might be enhanced as a result of slower remineralisation under lower dissolved O2 concentrations (DO). In parallel, nitrogen (N) loss to the atmosphere through microbial processes, such as denitrification and anammox, is directly linked to particulate nitrogen (PN) export. However it is unclear (1) whether DO is the only factor that potentially enhances POC transfer in OMZs, and (2) if particle fluxes are sufficient to support observed N loss rates. We performed a degradation experiment on sinking particles collected from the Baltic Sea, where anoxic zones are observed. Sinking material was harvested using surface-tethered sediment traps and subsequently incubated in darkness at different DO levels, including severe suboxia (<0.5 mg l−1 DO). Our results show that DO plays a role in regulating POC and PN degradation rates. POC(PN) degradation was reduced by approximately 100% from the high to low DO to the lowest DO. The amount of NH4 + produced from the pool of remineralising organic N matched estimations of NH4 + anammox requirements during our experiment. This anammox was likely fueled by DON degradation rather than PON degradation.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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