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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Deep ocean bacteria discovered to play large role in carbon capture

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November 27, 2017 Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Marine bacteria that live in the dark depths of the ocean play a newly discovered and significant role in the global carbon cycle, according to a new study.
The “dark ocean” — everything that lies below 200 meters — makes up 90 percent of the ocean. Very little is known about the microscopic life in this realm and its critical role in transforming carbon dioxide to cell material, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. This freshly produced organic material can then be consumed by other marine organisms enhancing the productivity of the ocean…
…”We experimentally demonstrated the major role of nitrite oxidizers in capturing carbon dioxide in the dark ocean and illuminated a group of microbes which has not yet received adequate attention for their impact in the oceanic carbon cycle.”

Maria G. Pachiadaki, Eva Sintes, Kristin Bergauer, Julia M. Brown, Nicholas R. Record, Brandon K. Swan, Mary Elizabeth Mathyer, Steven J. Hallam, Purificacion Lopez-Garcia, Yoshihiro Takaki, Takuro Nunoura, Tanja Woyke, Gerhard J. Herndl, Ramunas Stepanauskas. Major role of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in dark ocean carbon fixation. Science, 2017; 358 (6366): 1046 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8260

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