- Anoxic sea water
Anoxic sea water is sea water depleted of
oxygen. It is generally found in areas with restricted water exchange. In most cases, oxygen is prevented from reaching the deeper parts of the sea area by a physical barrier (sill) as well as a pronounced density stratification. Anoxic conditions will occur if the rate of oxidation of organic matter by bacteriais greater than the supply of oxygen. Anoxic waters are a natural phenomenon [Richards, 1965] [Sarmiento 1988-B] , and have occurred during the geological history of the Baltic Sea[Jerbo, 1972] [Hallberg, 1974] . Recently, there have been some indications that eutrophicationhas increased the extent of the anoxic areas in, e.g., the Baltic Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Anoxic conditions result from several factors; for example, stagnation conditions, density stratification [Gerlach, 1994] , inputs of organic material, and strong
thermoclines. The bacterial production of sulfidestarts in the sediments, where the bacteria find suitable substrates, and then expands into the water column.
When oxygen is depleted in a basin, bacteria first turn to the second-best electron acceptor, which in sea water is nitrate.
Denitrificationoccurs, and the nitrate will be consumed rather rapidly. After reducing some other minor elements, the bacteria will turn to reducing sulfate. If anoxic sea water becomes reoxygenized, sulfides will be oxidized to sulfate according to:
HS- + 2 O2 → HSO4-
Bannock Basin, eastern Mediterranean Sea;
Black SeaBasin, off eastern Europe, below 150 ft.;
Caspian SeaBasin, below 300 ft.;
Cariaco Basin, off north central Venezuela;
* Gotland Deep, in the Baltic off
Mariager Fjord, off Denmark;
Saanich Inlet, off Vancouver Island, Canada;
* Gerlach, S.A. (1994) “Oxygen conditions improve when the salinity in the Baltic Sea decreases”. "Marine Pollution Bulletin", 28: 413-416.
* Hallberg, R.O. (1974) “Paleoredox conditions in the Eastern Gotland Basin during the recent centuries”. "Merentutkimuslait". Julk./Havsforskningsinstitutets Skrift, 238: 3-16.
* Jerbo, A. (1972) “Är Östersjöbottnens syreunderskott en modern företeelse?” "Vatten", 28: 404-408.
* Fenchel, Tom & Finlay, Bland J. (1995) "Ecology and Evolution in Anoxic Worlds" (Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution) Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854838-9
* Richards, F.A. (1965) “Anoxic basins and fjords”, in Riley, J.P., and Skirrow, G. (eds) "Chemical Oceanography", London, Academic Press, 611-643.
* Sarmiento, J.L., Herbert, T.D., and Toggweiler, J.R. (1988-A) “Causes of anoxia in the world ocean”. "Global Biochemical Cycles", 2(2): 115-128.
* Sarmiento, J.A. et al. (1988-B) “Ocean Carbon-Cycle Dynamics and Atmospheric pCO2”. "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences", Vol. 325, No. 1583, "Tracers in the Ocean" (May 25, 1988), pp. 3-21.
* Zilli M., Guarino C., Daffonchio D., Borin S., Converti A. (2005) “The enigma of prokaryotic life in deep hypersaline anoxic basins”. "Science", 307:121-123.
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