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The Expansion of Low Oxygen Zones in the Global Ocean and Coastal Waters

  • The Beijer Hall, The Royal Swedish Academy of Science  Lilla Frescativägen 4A Stockholm Sweden (map)

Date: 21 February 2019 (full day)

Venue: The Beijer Hall, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Lilla Frescativägen 4A, Stockholm 

Host: The Environmental Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences


Oxygen concentrations in both the global ocean and coastal waters have been declining since at least the middle of the 20th century. This oxygen loss is one of the most important changes occurring in an ocean increasingly modified by human activities that have raised temperatures, CO2 levels, and increased nutrient inputs that have altered the abundances and distributions of marine species. Oxygen is naturally low or absent where biological oxygen consumption through respiration exceeds the rate of oxygen supplied by physical transport, air-sea fluxes, and photosynthesis. The enhanced production in surface waters of the coastal zone from nutrient inputs from sewage and agricultural activities increases the delivery rate of degradable organic matter to bottom waters where microbial decomposition by aerobic respiration consumes oxygen. In addition, ocean warming reduces the solubility of oxygen and raises metabolic rates also accelerating the rate of oxygen consumption. Under current trajectories, anthropogenic activities could drive the ocean toward widespread oxygen deficiency within the next thousand years. The symposium will address the impact of changes in productivity, biodiversity, and biogeochemical cycles with declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters.

Lectures by

  • Denise Breitburg, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, USA

  • Jacob Carstensen, Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Christoph Humborg, Stockholm University, Sweden

  • Alf Norkko, University of Helsinki, Finland

  • Andreas Oschlies, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany

  • Caroline Slomp, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

  • Bess B. Ward, Princeton University, USA

The symposium is free of charge and open to the public but registration is required for all participants. Limited number of seats.  Please state eventual food preferences or allergies in the registration form.


More info and registration:

This symposium is funded by Baltic Sea Centre at Stockholm University, BalticSea2020, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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