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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; +35 Authors

    In this paper we provide an overview of new knowledge on oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and related phenomena in aquatic systems resulting from the EU-FP7 project HYPOX ("In situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal and open seas, and landlocked water bodies", http://www.hypox.net). In view of the anticipated oxygen loss in aquatic systems due to eutrophication and climate change, HYPOX was set up to improve capacities to monitor hypoxia as well as to understand its causes and consequences. Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of hypoxia were analyzed in field studies in various aquatic environments, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Scottish and Scandinavian fjords, Ionian Sea lagoons and embayments, and Swiss lakes. Examples of episodic and rapid (hours) occurrences of hypoxia, as well as seasonal changes in bottom-water oxygenation in stratified systems, are discussed. Geologically driven hypoxia caused by gas seepage is demonstrated. Using novel technologies, temporal and spatial patterns of water-column oxygenation, from basin-scale seasonal patterns to meter-scale sub-micromolar oxygen distributions, were resolved. Existing multidecadal monitoring data were used to demonstrate the imprint of climate change and eutrophication on long-term oxygen distributions. Organic and inorganic proxies were used to extend investigations on past oxygen conditions to centennial and even longer timescales that cannot be resolved by monitoring. The effects of hypoxia on faunal communities and biogeochemical processes were also addressed in the project. An investigation of benthic fauna is presented as an example of hypoxia-devastated benthic communities that slowly recover upon a reduction in eutrophication in a system where naturally occurring hypoxia overlaps with anthropogenic hypoxia. Biogeochemical investigations reveal that oxygen intrusions have a strong effect on the microbially mediated redox cycling of elements. Observations and modeling studies of the sediments demonstrate the effect of seasonally changing oxygen conditions on benthic mineralization pathways and fluxes. Data quality and access are crucial in hypoxia research. Technical issues are therefore also addressed, including the availability of suitable sensor technology to resolve the gradual changes in bottom-water oxygen in marine systems that can be expected as a result of climate change. Using cabled observatories as examples, we show how the benefit of continuous oxygen monitoring can be maximized by adopting proper quality control. Finally, we discuss strategies for state-of-the-art data archiving and dissemination in compliance with global standards, and how ocean observations can contribute to global earth observation attempts.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Biogeosciences (BG)arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Hopwood, Mark J.; Sanchez, Nicolas; Polyviou, Despo; Leiknes, Øystein; +12 Authors

    The extracellular concentration of H2O2 in surface aquatic environments is controlled by a balance between photochemical production and the microbial synthesis of catalase and peroxidase enzymes to remove H2O2 from solution. In any kind of incubation experiment, the formation rates and equilibrium concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROSs) such as H2O2 may be sensitive to both the experiment design, particularly to the regulation of incident light, and the abundance of different microbial groups, as both cellular H2O2 production and catalase–peroxidase enzyme production rates differ between species. Whilst there are extensive measurements of photochemical H2O2 formation rates and the distribution of H2O2 in the marine environment, it is poorly constrained how different microbial groups affect extracellular H2O2 concentrations, how comparable extracellular H2O2 concentrations within large-scale incubation experiments are to those observed in the surface-mixed layer, and to what extent a mismatch with environmentally relevant concentrations of ROS in incubations could influence biological processes differently to what would be observed in nature. Here we show that both experiment design and bacterial abundance consistently exert control on extracellular H2O2 concentrations across a range of incubation experiments in diverse marine environments. During four large-scale (>1000 L) mesocosm experiments (in Gran Canaria, the Mediterranean, Patagonia and Svalbard) most experimental factors appeared to exert only minor, or no, direct effect on H2O2 concentrations. For example, in three of four experiments where pH was manipulated to 0.4–0.5 below ambient pH, no significant change was evident in extracellular H2O2 concentrations relative to controls. An influence was sometimes inferred from zooplankton density, but not consistently between different incubation experiments, and no change in H2O2 was evident in controlled experiments using different densities of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus grazing on the diatom Skeletonema costatum (<1 % change in [H2O2] comparing copepod densities from 1 to 10 L−1). Instead, the changes in H2O2 concentration contrasting high- and low-zooplankton incubations appeared to arise from the resulting changes in bacterial activity. The correlation between bacterial abundance and extracellular H2O2 was stronger in some incubations than others (R2 range 0.09 to 0.55), yet high bacterial densities were consistently associated with low H2O2. Nonetheless, the main control on H2O2 concentrations during incubation experiments relative to those in ambient, unenclosed waters was the regulation of incident light. In an open (lidless) mesocosm experiment in Gran Canaria, H2O2 was persistently elevated (2–6-fold) above ambient concentrations; whereas using closed high-density polyethylene mesocosms in Crete, Svalbard and Patagonia H2O2 within incubations was always reduced (median 10 %–90 %) relative to ambient waters.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Norwegian Open Resea...arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Paradis, Sarah; Pusceddu, Antonio; Masqué, Pere; Puig, Pere; +3 Authors

    Bottom trawling in the deep sea is one of the main drivers of sediment resuspension, eroding the seafloor and altering the content and composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM). The physical and biogeochemical impacts of bottom trawling were studied on the continental slope of the Gulf of Castellammare, Sicily (southwestern Mediterranean), through the analysis of two triplicate sediment cores collected at trawled and untrawled sites (∼550 m water depth) during the summer of 2016. Geochemical and sedimentological parameters (excess 210Pb, excess 234Th, 137Cs, dry bulk density, and grain size), elemental (organic carbon and nitrogen) and biochemical composition of sedimentary OM (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids), as well as its freshness (phytopigments) and degradation rates were determined in both coring locations. The untrawled site had a sedimentation rate of 0.15 cm yr−1 and presented a 6 cm thick surface mixed layer that contained siltier sediment with low excess 210Pb concentrations, possibly resulting from the resuspension, posterior advection, and eventual deposition of coarser and older sediment from adjacent trawling grounds. In contrast, the trawled site was eroded and presented compacted century-old sediment highly depleted in OM components, which were between 20 % and 60 % lower than those in the untrawled site. However, the upper 2 cm of the trawled site consisted of recently accumulated sediments enriched in excess 234Th, excess 210Pb, and phytopigments, while OM contents were similar to those from the untrawled core. This fresh sediment supported protein turnover rates of 0.025 d−1, which doubled those quantified in surface sediments of the untrawled site. The enhancement of remineralization rates in surface sediment of the trawled site was associated with the arrival of fresh particles on a chronically trawled deep-sea region that is generally deprived of OM. We conclude that the detrimental effects of bottom trawling can be temporarily and partially abated by the arrival of fresh and nutritionally rich OM, which stimulate the response of benthic communities. However, these ephemeral deposits are likely to be swiftly eroded due to the high trawling frequency over fishing grounds, highlighting the importance of establishing science-based management strategies to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling.

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    Authors: Naeher Sebastian; Geraga Maria; Papatheodorou George; Ferentinos George; +2 Authors

    The evolution of environmental changes during the last decades and the impact on the living biomass in the western part of Amvrakikos Gulf was investigated using abundances and species distributions of benthic foraminifera and lipid biomarker concentrations. These proxies indicated that the gulf has markedly changed due to eutrophication. Eutrophication has led to a higher productivity, a higher bacterial biomass, shifts towards opportunistic and tolerant benthic foraminifera species (e.g. Bulimina elongata, Nonionella turgida, Textularia agglutinans, Ammonia tepida) and a lower benthic species density. Close to the Preveza Strait (connection between the gulf and the Ionian Sea), the benthic assemblages were more diversified under more oxygenated conditions. Sea grass meadows largely contributed to the organic matter at this sampling site. The occurrence of isorenieratane, chlorobactane and lycopane supported by oxygen monitoring data indicated that anoxic (and partly euxinic) conditions prevailed seasonally throughout the western part of the gulf with more severe oxygen depletion towards the east. Increased surface water temperatures have led to a higher stratification, which reduced oxygen resupply to bottom waters. Altogether, these developments led to mass mortality events and ecosystem decline in Amvrakikos Gulf.

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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; +35 Authors

    In this paper we provide an overview of new knowledge on oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and related phenomena in aquatic systems resulting from the EU-FP7 project HYPOX ("In situ monitoring of oxygen depletion in hypoxic ecosystems of coastal and open seas, and landlocked water bodies", http://www.hypox.net). In view of the anticipated oxygen loss in aquatic systems due to eutrophication and climate change, HYPOX was set up to improve capacities to monitor hypoxia as well as to understand its causes and consequences. Temporal dynamics and spatial patterns of hypoxia were analyzed in field studies in various aquatic environments, including the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, Scottish and Scandinavian fjords, Ionian Sea lagoons and embayments, and Swiss lakes. Examples of episodic and rapid (hours) occurrences of hypoxia, as well as seasonal changes in bottom-water oxygenation in stratified systems, are discussed. Geologically driven hypoxia caused by gas seepage is demonstrated. Using novel technologies, temporal and spatial patterns of water-column oxygenation, from basin-scale seasonal patterns to meter-scale sub-micromolar oxygen distributions, were resolved. Existing multidecadal monitoring data were used to demonstrate the imprint of climate change and eutrophication on long-term oxygen distributions. Organic and inorganic proxies were used to extend investigations on past oxygen conditions to centennial and even longer timescales that cannot be resolved by monitoring. The effects of hypoxia on faunal communities and biogeochemical processes were also addressed in the project. An investigation of benthic fauna is presented as an example of hypoxia-devastated benthic communities that slowly recover upon a reduction in eutrophication in a system where naturally occurring hypoxia overlaps with anthropogenic hypoxia. Biogeochemical investigations reveal that oxygen intrusions have a strong effect on the microbially mediated redox cycling of elements. Observations and modeling studies of the sediments demonstrate the effect of seasonally changing oxygen conditions on benthic mineralization pathways and fluxes. Data quality and access are crucial in hypoxia research. Technical issues are therefore also addressed, including the availability of suitable sensor technology to resolve the gradual changes in bottom-water oxygen in marine systems that can be expected as a result of climate change. Using cabled observatories as examples, we show how the benefit of continuous oxygen monitoring can be maximized by adopting proper quality control. Finally, we discuss strategies for state-of-the-art data archiving and dissemination in compliance with global standards, and how ocean observations can contribute to global earth observation attempts.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Biogeosciences (BG)arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Hopwood, Mark J.; Sanchez, Nicolas; Polyviou, Despo; Leiknes, Øystein; +12 Authors

    The extracellular concentration of H2O2 in surface aquatic environments is controlled by a balance between photochemical production and the microbial synthesis of catalase and peroxidase enzymes to remove H2O2 from solution. In any kind of incubation experiment, the formation rates and equilibrium concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROSs) such as H2O2 may be sensitive to both the experiment design, particularly to the regulation of incident light, and the abundance of different microbial groups, as both cellular H2O2 production and catalase–peroxidase enzyme production rates differ between species. Whilst there are extensive measurements of photochemical H2O2 formation rates and the distribution of H2O2 in the marine environment, it is poorly constrained how different microbial groups affect extracellular H2O2 concentrations, how comparable extracellular H2O2 concentrations within large-scale incubation experiments are to those observed in the surface-mixed layer, and to what extent a mismatch with environmentally relevant concentrations of ROS in incubations could influence biological processes differently to what would be observed in nature. Here we show that both experiment design and bacterial abundance consistently exert control on extracellular H2O2 concentrations across a range of incubation experiments in diverse marine environments. During four large-scale (>1000 L) mesocosm experiments (in Gran Canaria, the Mediterranean, Patagonia and Svalbard) most experimental factors appeared to exert only minor, or no, direct effect on H2O2 concentrations. For example, in three of four experiments where pH was manipulated to 0.4–0.5 below ambient pH, no significant change was evident in extracellular H2O2 concentrations relative to controls. An influence was sometimes inferred from zooplankton density, but not consistently between different incubation experiments, and no change in H2O2 was evident in controlled experiments using different densities of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus grazing on the diatom Skeletonema costatum (<1 % change in [H2O2] comparing copepod densities from 1 to 10 L−1). Instead, the changes in H2O2 concentration contrasting high- and low-zooplankton incubations appeared to arise from the resulting changes in bacterial activity. The correlation between bacterial abundance and extracellular H2O2 was stronger in some incubations than others (R2 range 0.09 to 0.55), yet high bacterial densities were consistently associated with low H2O2. Nonetheless, the main control on H2O2 concentrations during incubation experiments relative to those in ambient, unenclosed waters was the regulation of incident light. In an open (lidless) mesocosm experiment in Gran Canaria, H2O2 was persistently elevated (2–6-fold) above ambient concentrations; whereas using closed high-density polyethylene mesocosms in Crete, Svalbard and Patagonia H2O2 within incubations was always reduced (median 10 %–90 %) relative to ambient waters.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Norwegian Open Resea...arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Paradis, Sarah; Pusceddu, Antonio; Masqué, Pere; Puig, Pere; +3 Authors

    Bottom trawling in the deep sea is one of the main drivers of sediment resuspension, eroding the seafloor and altering the content and composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM). The physical and biogeochemical impacts of bottom trawling were studied on the continental slope of the Gulf of Castellammare, Sicily (southwestern Mediterranean), through the analysis of two triplicate sediment cores collected at trawled and untrawled sites (∼550 m water depth) during the summer of 2016. Geochemical and sedimentological parameters (excess 210Pb, excess 234Th, 137Cs, dry bulk density, and grain size), elemental (organic carbon and nitrogen) and biochemical composition of sedimentary OM (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids), as well as its freshness (phytopigments) and degradation rates were determined in both coring locations. The untrawled site had a sedimentation rate of 0.15 cm yr−1 and presented a 6 cm thick surface mixed layer that contained siltier sediment with low excess 210Pb concentrations, possibly resulting from the resuspension, posterior advection, and eventual deposition of coarser and older sediment from adjacent trawling grounds. In contrast, the trawled site was eroded and presented compacted century-old sediment highly depleted in OM components, which were between 20 % and 60 % lower than those in the untrawled site. However, the upper 2 cm of the trawled site consisted of recently accumulated sediments enriched in excess 234Th, excess 210Pb, and phytopigments, while OM contents were similar to those from the untrawled core. This fresh sediment supported protein turnover rates of 0.025 d−1, which doubled those quantified in surface sediments of the untrawled site. The enhancement of remineralization rates in surface sediment of the trawled site was associated with the arrival of fresh particles on a chronically trawled deep-sea region that is generally deprived of OM. We conclude that the detrimental effects of bottom trawling can be temporarily and partially abated by the arrival of fresh and nutritionally rich OM, which stimulate the response of benthic communities. However, these ephemeral deposits are likely to be swiftly eroded due to the high trawling frequency over fishing grounds, highlighting the importance of establishing science-based management strategies to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling.

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    Authors: Naeher Sebastian; Geraga Maria; Papatheodorou George; Ferentinos George; +2 Authors

    The evolution of environmental changes during the last decades and the impact on the living biomass in the western part of Amvrakikos Gulf was investigated using abundances and species distributions of benthic foraminifera and lipid biomarker concentrations. These proxies indicated that the gulf has markedly changed due to eutrophication. Eutrophication has led to a higher productivity, a higher bacterial biomass, shifts towards opportunistic and tolerant benthic foraminifera species (e.g. Bulimina elongata, Nonionella turgida, Textularia agglutinans, Ammonia tepida) and a lower benthic species density. Close to the Preveza Strait (connection between the gulf and the Ionian Sea), the benthic assemblages were more diversified under more oxygenated conditions. Sea grass meadows largely contributed to the organic matter at this sampling site. The occurrence of isorenieratane, chlorobactane and lycopane supported by oxygen monitoring data indicated that anoxic (and partly euxinic) conditions prevailed seasonally throughout the western part of the gulf with more severe oxygen depletion towards the east. Increased surface water temperatures have led to a higher stratification, which reduced oxygen resupply to bottom waters. Altogether, these developments led to mass mortality events and ecosystem decline in Amvrakikos Gulf.

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