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Nature. 1993 Apr 29;362(6423):827-9.

A 6,000-year sedimentary molecular record of chemocline excursions in the Black Sea.

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Netherlands Institute of Sea Research, Division of Marine Biogeochemistry, Texel.
IN U, Bloomington, Dept Geol Sci & Chem


The Black Sea is the world's largest anoxic basin; it is also a contemporary analogue of the environment in which carbonaceous shales and petroleum source beds formed. Recently, Repeta et al. reported that anoxygenic photosynthesis may be an important component of carbon cycling in the present Black Sea, owing to a shoaling of the chemocline and consequent penetration of the photic zone by anaerobic waters in the past few decades. It has been suggested that this was due to an anthropogenic decrease in freshwater input to the Black Sea, although natural causes were not ruled out. Here we report the distributions of sequestered photosynthetic pigments in eight core samples of sediments from the Black Sea ranging in age from zero to 6,200 years before the present. Our results show that photosynthetic green sulphur bacteria (Chlorobiaceae [correction of Clorobiaceae]) have been active in the Black Sea for substantial periods of time in the past. This finding indicates that the penetration of the photic zone by anaerobic waters is not a recent phenomenon, and suggests that natural causes for shoaling of the chemocline are more likely than anthropogenic ones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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