A study finds new explanation for the accumulation of organic compounds in oxygen-depleted marine areas. The effect could negatively feedback on the climate on geological time scales.
The Black Sea is an unusual body of water: below a depth of 150 metres the dissolved oxygen concentration sinks to around zero, meaning that higher life forms such as plants and animals cannot exist in these areas. At the same time, this semi-enclosed sea stores comparatively large amounts of organic carbon. A team of researchers led by Dr Gonzalo V. Gomez-Saez (AWI and MARUM) and Dr Jutta Niggemann from the University of Oldenburg's Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) has now presented a new hypothesis as to why organic compounds accumulate in the depths of the Black Sea – and other oxygen-depleted waters in the scientific journal Science Advances.
Researchers from the ICBM, the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, the MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences of the University of Bremen, and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen participated in the study.