Sediment oxygen consumption in Antarctic subglacial environments

TitleSediment oxygen consumption in Antarctic subglacial environments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMichaud, AB, Priscu, JC
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Pagination1557 - 1566
Date Published07/2023

Oxygen consumption in aquatic sediments is an indicator of overall biological activity of the ecosystem. As such, rates of sedimentary oxygen utilization are well documented for much of the open oceans and freshwater lakes. However, there are few direct measurements of sedimentary oxygen consumption from Antarctic subglacial aquatic sediments. We report the first microsensor oxygen profiles and derived sedimentary oxygen consumption rates from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf and a subglacial lake beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Rates of oxygen consumption in these two environments are relatively low, but comparable to those reported from ice-free polar oceans and oligotrophic Arctic lakes. Our study demonstrates the presence of oxygen within Antarctic subglacial aquatic sediments and its importance for oxygen-consuming microorganisms living in these ecosystems.