Biogeosciences Editors' Highlights

Baltic Bacterial Blooms Over the Millennia

Eutrophication not only is a present-day anthropogenic phenomenon in the southern Baltic but also occurred over the past few millennia, with cyanobacterial blooms during times of climate warming.

Source: Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology


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Eutrophication leading to oxygen depletion in near-bottom water and toxic cyanobacteria blooms is an important contemporary problem of the Baltic Sea and many other coastal waters, with present eutrophication mainly ascribed to anthropogenic activity. Szymczak‐Żyła et al. [2019] compare the present trophic state of the Baltic with that during the past millennia in the southern Baltic Sea, using analysis of phytoplankton pigments (chlorophylls and their derivatives, and carotenoids), grain-size, diatoms and selected metals. The authors deduced that there were high primary production periods during past warm periods, accompanied by oxygen deficiency in the near-bottom water. Cyanobacteria blooms of an intensity similar to or even greater than at present occurred in past millennia, linked to warming. The authors thus conclude that natural factors contribute to eutrophication and low oxygen conditions in the Baltic Sea.

Citation: Szymczak‐Żyła, M., Krajewska, M., Witak, M., Ciesielski, T. M., Ardelan, M. V., Jenssen, B. M., et al. [2019]. Present and past‐millennial eutrophication in the Gulf of Gdańsk (southern Baltic Sea). Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018PA003474

—Ellen Thomas, Editor in Chief, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology

Text © 2019. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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