Forth M, Liljebladh B, Stigebrandt A, Hall PO, Treusch AH
ISME J 9 (3) 656-669 [2015-03-00; online 2014-09-23]
Oxygen-depleted bodies of water are becoming increasingly common in marine ecosystems. Solutions to reverse this trend are needed and under development, for example, by the Baltic deep-water OXygenation (BOX) project. In the framework of this project, the Swedish Byfjord was chosen for a pilot study, investigating the effects of an engineered oxygenation on long-term anoxic bottom waters. The strong stratification of the water column of the Byfjord was broken up by pumping surface water into the deeper layers, triggering several inflows of oxygen-rich water and increasing oxygen levels in the lower water column and the benthic zone up to 110 μmol l(-1).We used molecular ecologic methods to study changes in bacterial community structure in response to the oxygenation in the Byfjord. Water column samples from before, during and after the oxygenation as well as from two nearby control fjords were analyzed. Our results showed a strong shift in bacterial community composition when the bottom water in the Byfjord became oxic. Initially dominant indicator species for oxygen minimum zones such as members of the SUP05 clade declined in abundance during the oxygenation event and nearly vanished after the oxygenation was accomplished. In contrast, aerobic species like SAR11 that initially were restricted to surface waters could later be detected deep into the water column. Overall, the bacterial community in the formerly anoxic bottom waters changed to a community structure similar to those found in oxic waters, showing that an engineered oxygenation of a large body of anoxic marine water is possible and emulates that of a natural oxygenation event.