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20 Research products, page 1 of 2

  • European Marine Science
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  • European Commission
  • HYPOX

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H. W.; Boltacheva, N.; Çagatay, M. N.; Dale, A. W.; Etiope, G.; Erdem, Z.; Geraga, M.; +29 more
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    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.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Capet, A.; Beckers, J.-M.; Grégoire, M.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    The Black Sea northwestern shelf (NWS) is a shallow eutrophic area in which the seasonal stratification of the water column isolates the bottom waters from the atmosphere. This prevents ventilation from counterbalancing the large consumption of oxygen due to respiration in the bottom waters and in the sediments, and sets the stage for the development of seasonal hypoxia. A three-dimensional (3-D) coupled physical–biogeochemical model is used to investigate the dynamics of bottom hypoxia in the Black Sea NWS, first at seasonal and then at interannual scales (1981–2009), and to differentiate its driving factors (climatic versus eutrophication). Model skills are evaluated by a quantitative comparison of the model results to 14 123 in situ oxygen measurements available in the NOAA World Ocean and the Black Sea Commission databases, using different error metrics. This validation exercise shows that the model is able to represent the seasonal and interannual variability of the oxygen concentration and of the occurrence of hypoxia, as well as the spatial distribution of oxygen-depleted waters. During the period 1981–2009, each year exhibits seasonal bottom hypoxia at the end of summer. This phenomenon essentially covers the northern part of the NWS – which receives large inputs of nutrients from the Danube, Dniester and Dnieper rivers – and extends, during the years of severe hypoxia, towards the Romanian bay of Constanta. An index H which merges the aspects of the spatial and temporal extension of the hypoxic event is proposed to quantify, for each year, the intensity of hypoxia as an environmental stressor. In order to explain the interannual variability of H and to disentangle its drivers, we analyze the long time series of model results by means of a stepwise multiple linear regression. This statistical model gives a general relationship that links the intensity of hypoxia to eutrophication and climate-related variables. A total of 82% of the interannual variability of H is explained by the combination of four predictors: the annual riverine nitrate load (N), the sea surface temperature in the month preceding stratification (Ts), the amount of semi-labile organic matter accumulated in the sediments (C) and the sea surface temperature during late summer (Tf). Partial regression indicates that the climatic impact on hypoxia is almost as important as that of eutrophication. Accumulation of organic matter in the sediments introduces an important inertia in the recovery process after eutrophication, with a typical timescale of 9.3 yr. Seasonal fluctuations and the heterogeneous spatial distribution complicate the monitoring of bottom hypoxia, leading to contradictory conclusions when the interpretation is done from different sets of data. In particular, it appears that the recovery reported in the literature after 1995 was overestimated due to the use of observations concentrated in areas and months not typically affected by hypoxia. This stresses the urgent need for a dedicated monitoring effort in the Black Sea NWS focused on the areas and months concerned by recurrent hypoxic events.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Meire, L.; Soetaert, K. E. R.; Meysman, F. J. R.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    Climate change and changing nutrient loadings are the two main aspects of global change that are linked to the increase in the prevalence of coastal hypoxia – the depletion of oxygen in the bottom waters of coastal areas. However, it remains uncertain how strongly these two drivers will each increase the risk of hypoxia over the next decades. Through model simulations we have investigated the relative influence of climate change and nutrient run-off on the bottom water oxygen dynamics in the Oyster Grounds, an area in the central North Sea experiencing summer stratification. Simulations were performed with a one-dimensional ecosystem model that couples hydrodynamics, pelagic biogeochemistry and sediment diagenesis. Climatological conditions for the North Sea over the next 100 yr were derived from a global-scale climate model. Our results indicate that changing climatological conditions will increase the risk of hypoxia. The bottom water oxygen concentration in late summer is predicted to decrease by 24 μM or 11.5% in the year 2100. More intense stratification is the dominant factor responsible for this decrease (58%), followed by the reduced solubility of oxygen at higher water temperature (27%), while the remaining part could be attributed to enhanced metabolic rates in warmer bottom waters (15%). Relative to these climate change effects, changes in nutrient runoff are also important and may even have a stronger impact on the bottom water oxygenation. Decreased nutrient loadings strongly decrease the probability of hypoxic events. This stresses the importance of continued eutrophication management in coastal areas, which could function as a mitigation tool to counteract the effects of rising temperatures.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Dale, A. W.; Bertics, V. J.; Treude, T.; Sommer, S.; Wallmann, K.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    This study presents benthic data from 12 samplings from February to December 2010 in a 28 m deep channel in the southwest Baltic Sea. In winter, the distribution of solutes in the porewater was strongly modulated by bioirrigation which efficiently flushed the upper 10 cm of sediment, leading to concentrations which varied little from bottom water values. Solute pumping by bioirrigation fell sharply in the summer as the bottom waters became severely hypoxic (2). At this point the giant sulfide-oxidizing bacteria Beggiatoa was visible on surface sediments. Despite an increase in O2 following mixing of the water column in November, macrofauna remained absent until the end of the sampling. Contrary to expectations, metabolites such as dissolved inorganic carbon, ammonium and hydrogen sulfide did not accumulate in the upper 10 cm during the hypoxic period when bioirrigation was absent, but instead tended toward bottom water values. This was taken as evidence for episodic bubbling of methane gas out of the sediment acting as an abiogenic irrigation process. Porewater–seawater mixing by escaping bubbles provides a pathway for enhanced nutrient release to the bottom water and may exacerbate the feedback with hypoxia. Subsurface dissolved phosphate (TPO4) peaks in excess of 400 μM developed in autumn, resulting in a very large diffusive TPO4 flux to the water column of 0.7 ± 0.2 mmol m−2 d−1. The model was not able to simulate this TPO4 source as release of iron-bound P (Fe–P) or organic P. As an alternative hypothesis, the TPO4 peak was reproduced using new kinetic expressions that allow Beggiatoa to take up porewater TPO4 and accumulate an intracellular P pool during periods with oxic bottom waters. TPO4 is then released during hypoxia, as previous published results with sulfide-oxidizing bacteria indicate. The TPO4 added to the porewater over the year by organic P and Fe–P is recycled through Beggiatoa, meaning that no additional source of TPO4 is needed to explain the TPO4 peak. Further experimental studies are needed to strengthen this conclusion and rule out Fe–P and organic P as candidate sources of ephemeral TPO4 release. A measured C/P ratio of 4 in a short space of time and dramatically increasing the internal loading of TPO4 to the overlying water.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Naeher, S.; Geraga, M.; Papatheodorou, G.; Ferentinos, G.; Kaberi, H.; Schubert, C. J.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    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.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Stanev, E. V.; He, Y.; Staneva, J.; Yakushev, E.;
    Project: EC | PERSEUS (287600), EC | HYPOX (226213), EC | E-AIMS (312642)

    The temporal and spatial variability of the upper ocean hydrochemistry in the Black Sea is analysed using data originating from profiling floats with oxygen sensors and carried out with a coupled three-dimensional circulation-biogeochemical model including 24 biochemical state variables. Major focus is on the dynamics of suboxic zone which is the interface separating oxygenated and anoxic waters. The scatter of oxygen data seen when plotted in density coordinates is larger than those for temperature, salinity and passive tracers. This scatter is indicative of vigorous biogeochemical reactions in the suboxic zone, which acts as a boundary layer or internal sink for oxygen. This internal sink affects the mixing patterns of oxygen compared to the ones of conservative tracers. Two different regimes of ventilation of pycnocline were clearly identified: a gyre-dominated (cyclonic) regime in winter and a coastal boundary layer (anticyclonic eddy)-dominated regime in summer. These contrasting states are characterized by very different pathways of oxygen intrusions along the isopycnals and vertical oxygen conveyor belt organized in multiple-layered cells formed in each gyre. The contribution of the three-dimensional modelling to the understanding of the Black Sea hydro-chemistry, and in particular the coast-to-open-sea mixing, is also demonstrated. Evidence is given that the formation of oxic waters and of cold intermediate waters, although triggered by the same physical process, each follow a different evolution. The difference in the depths of the temperature minimum and the oxygen maximum indicates that the variability of oxygen is not only just a response to physical forcing and changes in the surface conditions, but undergoes its own evolution.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Prien, Ralf D.; Schulz-Bull, Detlef E.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    This note describes a profiling mooring with an interdisciplinary suite of sensors taking profiles between 180 and 30 m depth. It consists of an underwater winch, moored below 180 m depth, and a profiling instrumentation platform. In its described setup it can take about 200 profiles at pre-programmed times or intervals with one set of batteries. This allows for studies over an extended period of time (e.g. two daily profiles over a time of 3 months). The Gotland Deep Environmental Sampling Station (GODESS) in the Eastern Gotland Basin of the Baltic Sea is aimed at investigations of redoxcline dynamics. The described system can be readily adapted to other research foci by changing the profiling instrumentation platform and its payload.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Shapiro, G. I.; Aleynik, D. L.; Mee, L. D.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    There is growing understanding that recent deterioration of the Black Sea ecosystem was partly due to changes in the marine physical environment. This study uses high resolution 0.25° climatology to analyze sea surface temperature variability over the 20th century in two contrasting regions of the sea. Results show that the deep Black Sea was cooling during the first three quarters of the century and was warming in the last 15–20 years; on aggregate there was a statistically significant cooling trend. The SST variability over the Western shelf was more volatile and it does not show statistically significant trends. The cooling of the deep Black Sea is at variance with the general trend in the North Atlantic and may be related to the decrease of westerly winds over the Black Sea, and a greater influence of the Siberian anticyclone. The timing of the changeover from cooling to warming coincides with the regime shift in the Black Sea ecosystem.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Shapiro, G. I.; Wobus, F.; Aleynik, D. L.;
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213)

    Long-term changes in the state of the Bottom Shelf Water (BSW) on the Western shelf of the Black Sea are assessed using analysis of intra-seasonal and inter-annual temperature variations. For the purpose of this study the BSW is defined as such shelf water mass between the seabed and the upper mixed layer (bounded by the σθ = 14.2 isopycnal) which has limited ability to mix vertically with oxygen-rich surface waters during the warm season due to formation of a seasonal pycnocline. A long-term time series of temperature anomalies in the BSW is constructed from in-situ observations taken over the 2nd half of the 20th century. The BSW is shown to occupy nearly half of the shelf area during the summer stratification period (May–November).The results reveal a warm phase in the 1960s/70s, followed by a cold phase between 1985 and 1995 and a further warming after 1995. The transition between the warm and cold periods coincides with a regime shift in the Black Sea ecosystem. While it was confirmed that the memory of winter convection is well preserved over the following months in the deep sea, the signal of winter cooling in the BSW significantly reduces during the warm season. The potential of the BSW to ventilate horizontally during the warm season with the deep-sea waters is assessed using isopycnic analysis of temperature variations. It is shown that temperature in the BSW is stronger correlated with the temperature of Cold Intermediate Waters (CIW) in the deep sea than with the severity of the previous winters, thus indicating that the isopycnal exchanges with the deep sea are more important for inter-annual/inter-decadal variability of the BSW on the western Black Sea shelf than effects of winter convection on the shelf itself.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Jessen, Gerdhard L; Pantoja, Silvio; Schubert, Carsten J; Struck, Ulrich; Boetius, Antje;
    Publisher: PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
    Project: EC | HYPOX (226213), EC | ABYSS (294757)

    Biogeochemical measurements in sediment cores collected with a TV-MUC in the Black Sea during MSM15/1, Northwest Crimea (HYPOX Project), at water depths between 105-207 m. Sampling was performed along gradient of oxygen bottom water concentrations between oxic (150 µmol L-1), variable hypoxic (3-60 µmol L-1 O2) and anoxic, sulfidic conditions. concentrations of organic carbon (Corg) and nitrogen (N) were measured on finely powdered, freeze-dried subsamples of sediment using a using a Fisons NA-1500 elemental analyzer. For organic carbon determination samples were pre-treated with 12.5% HCl to remove carbonates. Chlorophyll a (chl a), phaeopigments (PHAEO) and chloroplastic pigment equivalents (CPE) was measured according to Schubert et al., (2005) and total hydrolyzable amino acids (THAA) and single amino acid: ASP, GLU, SER, HIS, GLY, THR, ARG, ALA, TYR, MET, VAL, PHE, ILE, LEU, LYS following Dauwe et al., 1998.