Tuesday December 7, 2021

UC Merced

Even the tiniest organisms have a surprisingly huge effect on life in the oceans, eating up the last bits of oxygen in certain areas, preventing larger marine life from surviving there, a new study shows.

Department of Life and Environmental Sciences Professor Michael Beman published “ Substantial Oxygen Consumption by Aerobic Nitrite Oxidation in Oceanic Oxygen Minimum Zones ” in the journal Nature Communications last week, detailing the work conducted during two research trips in the Pacific Ocean. The field and lab work involved collaborations with scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and UC San Diego, with assistance from several current and former UC Merced graduate and undergraduate students.

Beman studies oceanic oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), which are large and globally significant areas where there is little to no oxygen. OMZs occur naturally, in contrast to the similar “dead zones,” which can be produced by pollution.

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