About this Research Topic

Manuscript Submission Deadline 31 December 2022

Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) play a key role in carbon, nitrogen and other elemental cycles, and directly impact climate dynamics by influencing air-sea fluxes of the potent greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. Oxygen concentrations, catalyze specialized micro-organisms to regulate chemical fluxes, ...

Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) play a key role in carbon, nitrogen and other elemental cycles, and directly impact climate dynamics by influencing air-sea fluxes of the potent greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. Oxygen concentrations, catalyze specialized micro-organisms to regulate chemical fluxes, which are critical for ecosystem functioning. The degree of deoxygenation in the OMZs vary from hypoxic in the tropical Atlantic Ocean to functionally anoxic in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and the northern Indian Ocean. Changes in the intensity and volume of the OMZs, modulated by changes in physical processes, offer potential threats to pelagic ecosystems, including fishery resources. Therefore, detailed studies investigating the physical and biogeochemical response of OMZs in relation to human perturbations are necessary to identify critical future research areas.

Distribution of dissolved oxygen in the ocean is controlled by a combination of physical and biogeochemical processes. Recent observations show a declining trend in the inventory of dissolved oxygen in the ocean and the ongoing expansion and intensification of OMZs. Up to 40% of the fixed nitrogen loss from the ocean is estimated to occur in the OMZs, which in turn affect primary production. The expansion/intensification of OMZs have the potential to impact living resources and is therefore of socio-economic relevance. Furthermore, microbially mediated production of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide is enhanced under anoxic or low-oxygen conditions. Coastal upwelling systems connected to OMZs (e.g., off Peru and Chile) have thus been identified as the main oceanic source of these greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In view of this, there is an immediate need to further our understanding of the biogeochemical cycles in OMZs to better predict future impacts from human-induced global warming to plan necessary mitigation/adaptation measures.

This Research Topic welcomes papers on the following specific themes:
• Novel biogeochemical processes and pathways in OMZs and their controlling factors
• Greenhouse gas cycling in OMZs
• Anthropogenic perturbations and intensification of OMZs
• Biogeochemical modelling
• OMZs and global climate change
• Emerging technologies to study the biogeochemistry of OMZs
• Microbial ecology of oxygen-deficient waters
Keeping in mind the above-mentioned themes, this Research Topic will seek (i) review articles that synthesize available information on OMZ biogeochemistry, (ii) recent developments that direct future research activities, and (iii) the impact of global warming and climate change on OMZ expansion and its biogeochemical feedbacks

Keywords: OMZ biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, carbon and nitrogen cycling, dissolved gases, climate change


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