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The survival of oceanic organisms in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) depends on their total oxygen demand and the capacities for oxygen extraction and transport, anaerobic ATP production and metabolic suppression. Anaerobic metabolism and metabolic suppression are required for daytime forays into the most extreme OMZs. Critical oxygen partial pressures are, within a range, evolved to match the minimum oxygen level to which a species is exposed. This fact demands that low oxygen habitats be defined by the biological response to low oxygen rather than by some arbitrary oxygen concentration. A broad comparative analysis of oxygen tolerance facilitates the identification of two oxygen thresholds that may prove useful for policy makers as OMZs expand due to climate change. Between these thresholds, specific physiological adaptations to low oxygen are required of virtually all species. The lower threshold represents a limit to evolved oxygen extraction capacity. Climate change that pushes oxygen concentrations below the lower threshold (~0.8 kPa) will certainly result in a transition from an ecosystem dominated by a diverse midwater fauna to one dominated by diel migrant biota that must return to surface waters at night. Animal physiology and, in particular, the response of animals to expanding hypoxia, is a critical, but understudied, component of biogeochemical cycles and oceanic ecology. Here, I discuss the definition of hypoxia and critical oxygen levels, review adaptations of animals to OMZs and discuss the capacity for, and prevalence of, metabolic suppression as a response to temporary residence in OMZs and the possible consequences of climate change on OMZ ecology.
Biological Sciences, Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island, 120 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Journal of experimental biology
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A measurement of OXYGEN uptake in a sitting, resting person (resting oxygen consumption), varying with age, sex, race, and other factors. In normal adult men, one MET is approximately 3.5 ml O2/kg/min of body weight. Oxygen uptake during activities or work can be measured in METs which can be use to determine health status and exercise prescription.
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Stable oxygen atoms that have the same atomic number as the element oxygen, but differ in atomic weight. O-17 and 18 are stable oxygen isotopes.
Molecules or ions formed by the incomplete one-electron reduction of oxygen. These reactive oxygen intermediates include SINGLET OXYGEN; SUPEROXIDES; PEROXIDES; HYDROXYL RADICAL; and HYPOCHLOROUS ACID. They contribute to the microbicidal activity of PHAGOCYTES, regulation of signal transduction and gene expression, and the oxidative damage to NUCLEIC ACIDS; PROTEINS; and LIPIDS.
Unstable isotopes of oxygen that decay or disintegrate emitting radiation. O atoms with atomic weights 13, 14, 15, 19, and 20 are radioactive oxygen isotopes.
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