Coastal hypoxia is a mounting problem worldwide that has been recognised as a major threat to marine coastal biota. The decline in dissolved oxygen can affect ecosystems structure and functioning. Managerial efforts to prevent hypoxia and recover ecosystems that have already been affected by hypoxia are largely based on nutrient reduction plans. Most nutrient reduction plans are focused on the reduction of the inorganic fraction of the nutrient loadings, particularly in reductions of nitrate and phosphate inputs. However, the concentration of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) frequently exceeds that of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in both marine and freshwaters. Recent studies indicate that many components of the DON pool can play an active role in supplying, directly or indirectly, nitrogen nutrition to phytoplankton and bacteria and may affect community metabolic rates and species composition of the ambient microbial assemblage. Elucidate the role of DON in the development and extend of eutrophication-driven hypoxia is essential to set successful management strategies in order to reduce hypoxia development and recover ecosystems experiencing hypoxia at present, to better protect marine biodiversity. The main goal of this project is to evaluate the role of DON in planktonic and bacterial community metabolic rates, and on oxygen dynamics in the Baltic Sea, the largest coastal area suffering from eutrophication-driven hypoxia. The project also aims to evaluate the effects of global warming in the interaction between DON inputs, metabolic rates and oxygen dynamics. Predictions on effects of global warming and eutrophication in dissolved oxygen dynamics in near and far future are needed to elucidate the consequences of the lack of oxygen on biodiversity and ecosystems structure and functioning. The results of this project could help better protect marine ecosystems, preserve biodiversity and set successful management targets for coastal waters.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology/ecosystems
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
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