03 Mar 2023
 | 03 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Ideas and perspectives. The fluctuating nature of oxygen shapes the ecology of aquatic habitats and their biogeochemical cycles: the aquatic oxyscape

Marco Fusi, Sylvain Rigaud, Giovanna Guadagnini, Alberto Barausse, Ramona Marasco, Daniele Daffonchio, Julie Régis, Louison Huchet, Capucine Camin, Laura Pettit, Cristina Vina-Herbon, and Folco Giomi

Abstract. Oxygen availability is a pivotal factor for ecosystem functioning and the resistance of organisms to the effect of climate change in aquatic habitats. Although extensive work has been made to assess the effect of oxygen on marine and freshwater biota, many studies did not capture the ecological importance of oxygen variations. Overlooking the fluctuating nature of oxygen may cause potential biases in the design and implementation of management policies of aquatic habitats. Conceptual perspectives on the dynamic nature of oxygen fluctuations have been raised in the scientific community to enhance the understanding of the effect of oxygen on the physiology and the ecology of aquatic species and the biogeochemical functioning of the ecosystems. A growing number of empirical works are outlining a novel conceptual framework that considers the magnitude of oxygen fluctuation as a key variable that explains adaptation to stress conditions. Oxygen in productive aquatic habitats shows large fluctuations at diel and seasonal scales, exposing aquatic species from conditions of extreme supersaturation to anoxia. Recent research indicates that such fluctuation tunes the physiological plasticity of the animal in response to thermal stresses. In this contribution, we provide compelling evidence based on current research that the fluctuating oxygen landscape, here defined as “oxyscape”, has an important role in aquatic animal physiology and adaptation and the ecosystem biogeochemistry. We propose that the oxyscape should be considered in the modelling and managing policies of aquatic ecosystems.

Marco Fusi et al.

Status: open (until 14 Apr 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2023-45', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Mar 2023 reply

Marco Fusi et al.

Marco Fusi et al.


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Short summary
Oxygen availability in marine and freshwater is very variable at daily and seasonal scale. The dynamic nature of oxygen fluctuations has important consequences for the animal and microbes physiology and ecology, yet fully understood. With this contribution, we showed the heterogeneous nature of aquatic oxygen landscape, that here we defined as “oxyscape”, and we addressed its importance that need be considered in the modelling and managing aquatic ecosystems.