Giant Hydrogen Sulfide Plume in the Oxygen Minimum Zone off Peru Supports Chemolithoautotrophy.

Schunck, Harald, Lavik, Gaute, Desai, Dhwani, Großkopf, Tobias, Kalvelage, Tim, Löscher, Carolin R., Paulmier, Aurélien, Contreras, Sergio, Siegel, Herbert, Holtappels, Moritz, Rosenstiel, Philip, Schilhabel, Markus B., Graco, Michelle, Schmitz, Ruth A., Kuypers, Marcel M. M. and LaRoche, Julie (2013) Giant Hydrogen Sulfide Plume in the Oxygen Minimum Zone off Peru Supports Chemolithoautotrophy. Open Access PLoS ONE, 8 (8). e68661. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0068661.

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In Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems nutrient-rich waters are transported to the ocean surface, fuelling high photoautotrophic primary production. Subsequent heterotrophic decomposition of the produced biomass increases the oxygen-depletion at intermediate water depths, which can result in the formation of oxygen minimum zones (OMZ). OMZs can sporadically accumulate hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is toxic to most multicellular organisms and has been implicated in massive fish kills. During a cruise to the OMZ off Peru in January 2009 we found a sulfidic plume in continental shelf waters, covering an area >5500 km2, which contained ~2.2×104 tons of H2S. This was the first time that H2S was measured in the Peruvian OMZ and with ~440 km3 the largest plume ever reported for oceanic waters. We assessed the phylogenetic and functional diversity of the inhabiting microbial community by high-throughput sequencing of DNA and RNA, while its metabolic activity was determined with rate measurements of carbon fixation and nitrogen transformation processes. The waters were dominated by several distinct γ-, δ- and ε-proteobacterial taxa associated with either sulfur oxidation or sulfate reduction. Our results suggest that these chemolithoautotrophic bacteria utilized several oxidants (oxygen, nitrate, nitrite, nitric oxide and nitrous oxide) to detoxify the sulfidic waters well below the oxic surface. The chemolithoautotrophic activity at our sampling site led to high rates of dark carbon fixation. Assuming that these chemolithoautotrophic rates were maintained throughout the sulfidic waters, they could be representing as much as ~30% of the photoautotrophic carbon fixation.
Postulated changes such as eutrophication and global warming, which lead to an expansion and intensification of OMZs, might also increase the frequency of sulfidic waters. We suggest that the chemolithoautotrophically fixed carbon may be involved in a negative feedback loop that could fuel further sulfate reduction and potentially stabilize the sulfidic OMZ waters

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000324470100006
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754 > B4
OceanRep > SFB 754
Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068661
ISSN: 1932-6203
Related URLs:
Projects: SFB754, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2013 08:29
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 21:46

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