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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 May 14;10(6):381-94. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2778.

Microbial ecology of expanding oxygen minimum zones.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Life Sciences Institute, 2552-2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada.


Dissolved oxygen concentration is a crucial organizing principle in marine ecosystems. As oxygen levels decline, energy is increasingly diverted away from higher trophic levels into microbial metabolism, leading to loss of fixed nitrogen and to production of greenhouse gases, including nitrous oxide and methane. In this Review, we describe current efforts to explore the fundamental factors that control the ecological and microbial biodiversity in oxygen-starved regions of the ocean, termed oxygen minimum zones. We also discuss how recent advances in microbial ecology have provided information about the potential interactions in distributed co-occurrence and metabolic networks in oxygen minimum zones, and we provide new insights into coupled biogeochemical processes in the ocean.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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