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Biomarker evidence for anammox in the oxygen minimum zone of the Eastern Tropical North Pacific

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Darci Rush


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Anaerobic oxidation of ammonium (anammox) is an important process in the marine N cycle. It has been estimated to contribute up to 50% of N loss from the ocean and is especially prevalent within the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). We studied the presence and distribution of anammox in the extended OMZ of the Eastern Tropical North Pacific (ETNP) using ladderane fatty acids (FAs), specific biomarkers for anammox bacteria. The validity of ladderane FAs as a proxy for anammox bacteria was demonstrated by their excellent correspondence with anammox 16S rRNA functional gene abundances and their expression and intact polar ladderane lipid concentrations in suspended particulate matter (SPM) from the Arabian Sea. In the ETNP, SPM was collected from various water depths at four stations along a northwest to southeast cruise transect and ladderane FAs were analysed at each station. In all SPM samples where ladderanes were detected, C18 ladderane FAs were on average fivefold more abundant than C20 ladderane FAs. Maximum ladderane FA concentrations (1.1–2.3 ng l−1) were recorded at 400–600 m, often corresponding to the depth of the secondary nitrite maximum. At one of the four stations, a second maximum in concentration was noted at a shallower depth (85 m), coinciding with higher nitrite availability at this depth. This suggests that nitrite, along with oxygen, may be a limiting factor for anammox activity in the ETNP. Anammox lipids were abundant within the OMZ at all stations and concentrations were comparable to those in other OMZs, suggesting that anammox may be responsible for a significant loss of N from the OMZ of the ETNP.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rush D, Wakeham SG, Hopmans EC, Schouten S, Sinninghe Damsté JS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organic Geochemistry

Year: 2012

Volume: 53

Pages: 80-87

Print publication date: 01/12/2012

ISSN (print): 0146-6380

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5290

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.02.005


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