Dark carbon fixation in the Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone contributes to sedimentary organic carbon (SOM)

LENGGER, Sabine K., RUSH, Darci, MAYSER, Jan Peter, BLEWETT, Jerome, SCHWARTZ-NARBONNE, Rachel, TALBOT, Helen M., MIDDELBURG, Jack J., JETTEN, Mike S.M., SCHOUTEN, Stefan, SINNINGHE DAMSTÉ, Jaap S. and PANCOST, Richard D. (2019). Dark carbon fixation in the Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone contributes to sedimentary organic carbon (SOM). Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1029/2019gb006282


In response to rising CO2concentrations and increasing global sea surface temperatures,oxygen minimum zones (OMZ), or“dead zones”, are expected to expand. OMZs are fueled by highprimary productivity, resulting in enhanced biological oxygen demand at depth, subsequent oxygen depletion, and attenuation of remineralization. This results in the deposition of organic carbon‐rich sediments. Carbon drawdown is estimated by biogeochemical models; however, a major process is ignored: carbon fixation in the mid‐and lower water column. Here, we show that chemoautotrophic carbon fixation is important in the Arabian Sea OMZ; and manifests in a13C‐depleted signature of sedimentary organic carbon. We determined theδ13C values of Corg deposited in close spatial proximity but over a steepbottom‐water oxygen gradient, and theδ13C composition of biomarkers of chemoautotrophic bacteriacapable of anaerobic ammonia oxidation (anammox). Isotope mixing models show that detritus fromanammox bacteria or other chemoautotrophs likely forms a substantial part of the organic matter depositedwithin the Arabian Sea OMZ (~17%), implying that the contribution of chemoautotrophs to settling organicmatter is exported to the sediment. This has implications for the evaluation of past, and future, OMZs:biogeochemical models that operate on the assumption that all sinking organic matter is photosynthetically derived, without new addition of carbon, could significantly underestimate the extent of remineralization. Oxygen demand in oxygen minimum zones could thus be higher than projections suggest, leading to a more intense expansion of OMZs than expected.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; 0401 Atmospheric Sciences; 0402 Geochemistry; 0405 Oceanography
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1029/2019gb006282
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2020 15:55
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:32
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/25651

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