de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Biogeochemical controls on the oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur distributions in the water column of Golfo Dulce: an anoxic basin on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica revisited

Timothy G. Ferdelman, Bo Thamdrup, Donald E. Canfield, Ronnie Nøhr Glud, Jan Kuever, Rolf Lillebæk, Niels Birger Ramsing, Cathrin Wawer



Chemical distributions, respiration rates, and bacterial distributions were measured in 1994 in the water column and sediments of a small, tropical, anoxic basin (Golfo Dulce, Pacific coast of Costa Rica) to examine the biogeochemical controls on anoxia, sulfide, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and organic carbon consumption. As reported previously, the deepest 100 m of the water column were anoxic, and sulfide concentrations in the bottom waters were less than 7 μM and then only transiently. Both free-swimming sulfide-oxidizing bacteria and Beggiatoa sp. (containing large vacuoles) were observed in the anoxic bottom waters or at the sediment-water interface. Aerobic respiration dominated the decomposition of organic matter in the surface waters and pycnocline, whereas sulfate reduction was principally restricted to the sediments. Bacteria were distributed in discrete zones and exhibited the highest densities where oxygen decreased below 1 μM around 100 m depth, and near the sediment-water interface. The sub-oxic, sub-pycnocline water column was characterized by a dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) deficit of 2.9 mole m-2. With a water residence time of 35 – 57 d, estimated from a salt balance, this deficit corresponded to a DIN loss of 51 – 85 mmol m-2 d-1, comparable to the sub-pycnocline oxygen consumption. Sulfide in the water column was maintained at low concentrations by frequent inputs of oxygenated water from the Pacific Ocean. Sulfide production in the sediments due to bacterial sulfate reduction was scavenged by frequent deposition of iron-rich turbidites. Based on 210Pb distributions, the most recent emplacement of a turbidite in the basin sediments was determined to have occurred between 1989 and 1992. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 1): 171-191. Epub 2006 Sept. 30.


Anoxic basin; marine sediment; microbial processes; denitrification; anammox; sulfate reduction; Golfo Dulce; Costa Rica

Full Text:



Amann R.I., B.J. Binder, R.J. Olson, S.W. Chisholm, R. Devereux & D.A. Stahl. 1990. Combination of 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes with flow cytometry for analyzing mixed microbial populations. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 56: 1919-1925.

APHA (American Public Health Association). 1992. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. APHA, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. 1150 p.

Canfield, D.E., R. Raiswell & S. Bottrell. 1992. The reactivity of sedimentary iron minerals toward sulfide. Amer. J. Sci. 292: 659-683.

Canfield, D.E., B. Thamdrup & J.W. Hansen. 1993. The anaerobic degradation of organic matter in Danish coastal sediments: Iron reduction, manganese reduction, and sulfate reduction. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 57: 3867-3883.

Cline, J.D. 1969. Spectrophotometric determination of hydrogen sulfide in natural waters. Limnol. Oceanogr. 14: 454-458.

Cordóba, R. & J.A. Vargas. 1996. Temperature, salinity, oxygen, and nutrient profiles at a 200 m deep station in Golfo Dulce, Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 44 (Suppl. 3): 233-236.

Cutshell, N.H., I.L. Larsen & C.R. Olsen. 1983. Direct analysis of 210Pb in sediment samples: self-absorbtion corrections. Nucl. Instr. Meth. 206: 309-312.

Dalsgaard, T., D.E. Canfield, J. Petersen, B. Thamdrup & J. Acuña-González. 2003. N2 production by the anammox reaction in the anoxic water column of Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Nature 422: 606-608.

Fossing, H. & B.B. Jørgensen. 1989. Measurement of bacterial sulfate reduction in sediments: Evaluation of a single-step chromium reduction method. Biogeochemistry, 8: 205-222.

Fossing H., V.A. Gallardo, B.B. Jørgensen, M. Hüttel, L.P. Nielsen, H. Schulz, D.E. Canfield, S. Forster, R. Glud, J. Gundersen, J. Küver, N.B. Ramsing, A. Teske, B. Thamdrup & O. Ulloa. 1995. Concentration and transport of nitrate by the mat-forming sulphur bacterium Thioploca. Nature 374: 713-715.

Garcia-Pichel, F. 1989. Rapid bacterial swimming measured in swarming cells of Thiovulum majus. Appl. Environ. Mircrobiol. 171: 3560-3563. Gargett, A.E. 1984. Vertical eddy diffusivity in the ocean interior. J. Marine. Res. 42: 359-393.

Hall P.O.J. & R.C. Aller. 1992. Rapid, small-volumne, flow injection analysis for ΣCO2 and NH4 + in marine and freshwaters. Limnol. Oceanog. 37: 1113-1119.

Hebbeln, D., D. Beese & J. Cortés. 1996. Morphology and sediment structures in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 44 (Suppl. 3): 1-10.

Henriksen, K. & W.M. Kemp. 1988. Nitrification in estuarine and coastal marine sediments, in nitrogen cycling in coastal marine environments, p 207-249. In T.H. Blackburn & J. Sørensen, (eds). J. Wiley, New York, New York, USA.

Ingvorsen, K. & B.B. Jørgensen. 1979. Combined measurement of oxygen and sulfide in water samples. Limnol. Oceanog. 24: 390-393.

Jørgensen, B.B. 1978. A comparison of methods for the quantification of bacterial sulfate reduction in coastal marine sediments. I. Measurement with radiotracer techniques. Geomicrobiology J. 1: 11-27.

Konovalov, S.K., G.W. Luther, G.E. Friederich, D.B. Nuzzio, B.M. Tebo, J.W. Murray, T. Oguz, B. Glazer, R.E. Trouwborst, B. Clement, K.J. Murray & A.S. Romanov. 2003. Lateral injection of oxygen with the Bosporus plume - fingers of oxidizing potential in the Black Sea. Limnol. Oceanog. 48: 2369-2376.

Kuever, J., C. Wawer & R. Lillebaek. 1996. Microbiological observations in the anoxic basin Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 44 (Suppl. 3): 49-57.

Landing, W.M., W.C. Burnett, W.B. Lyons & W.H. Orem. 1991. Nutrient cycling and the biogeochemistry of manganese, iron, and zinc in Jellyfish Lake, Palau. Limnol. Oceanog. 36: 515-525.

Lebaron, P., P. Servais, A.C. Bardoux, M. Bourrain, C. Courties & N. Parthuisot. 2002. Variations of bacterial- specific activity with cell size and nucleic acid content assessed by flow cytometry. Aquat. Microbiol. Ecol. 28: 131-140.

Lewis, B.L. & W.H. Landing. 1991. The biogeochemistry of manganese and iron in the Black Sea. Deep-Sea Res. 38 (Suppl. 2): S773-S803.

Lord, C.J., III. 1980. The chemistry and cycling of iron, manganese and sulfur in salt marsh sediments. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Delaware, Delaware, USA. 340 p.

Matthes, S. 1987. Minerologie. Springer, Berlin, Germany. McHatton, S.C., J.P. Barry, H.W. Jannasch & D.C.

Nelson, D.C. 1996. High nitrate concentrations in vacuolate, autotophic marine Beggiatoa spp. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62: 954-958.

Möckel, H.J. 1984. The retention of sulphur homocycles in Reversed-Phase HPLC. Fren. Z. Anal. Chem. 318: 327-334.

Nichols-Driscoll, J. 1976. Benthic invertebrate communities in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, an anoxic basin. Rev. Biol. Trop. 24: 281-297.

Nielsen, L.P. 1992. Denitrification in sediment determined from nitrogen isotope pairing. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 86: 357-362.

Otte, S., J.G. Kuenen, L.P. Nielsen, H.W. Paerl, J. Zopfi, H.N. Schulz, A. Teske, B. Strotmann, V.A. Gallardo & B.B. Jørgensen. 1999. Ecophysiological studies on partially purified mixed cultures of Thioploca species. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 65: 3148-3157.

Ramsing, N.B., H. Fossing, T.G. Ferdelman, F. Andersen & B Thamdrup. 1996. Distribution of bacterial populations in a stratified fjord (Mariager Fjord, Denmark) quantified by in situ hybridization and related to chemical gradients in the water column. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62: 1391-1404.

Richards, F.A., J.J. Anderson & J.D. Cline. 1971. Chemical and physical observations in Golfo Dulce, an anoxic basin on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Limnol. Oceanog. 16: 43-50.

Risgaard-Petersen, N., L.P. Nielsen, S. Rysgaard, T. Dalsgaard & R.L. Meyer. 2003. Application of the isotope pairing technique in sediments where anammox and denitrifcation coexist. Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 1: 63-73.

Robbins, J.A. 1986. Geochemical and geophysical applications of radioactive lead. In J.O. Nriagu (ed.). The Biogeochemistry of lead in the environment, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Holland.

Rosselló-Mora, R., B. Thamdrup, H. Schäfer, R. Weller & R. Amann. 1999. The response of the microbial community of marine sediments to organic carbon input under anaerobic conditions. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 22: 237-248.

Scranton, M.I., F.L. Sayles, M.P. Bacon & P.G. Brewer. 1987. Temporal changes in the hydrography and chemistry of the Cariaco Trench. Deep-Sea Res. 34: 945-963.

Scranton, M.I., Y. Astor, R. Bohrer, T.Y. Ho & F. Muller- Karger. 2001. Controls on temporal variability of the geochemistry of the deep Cariaco Basin. Deep-Sea Res. Part I-Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 48: 1605-1625.

Sørensen, J. 1987. Nitrate reduction in marine sediment: pathways and interactions. Geomicrobiol. J. 5: 401-421.

Seitz H.J. & H. Cypionka H. 1986. Chemolitohtrophic growth of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans with hydrogen coupled to ammonification of nitrate or nitrite. Arch. Microbiol. 146: 63-67.

Stookey, L.L. 1970. Ferrozine - a new spectrophotometric reagent for iron. Anal. Chem. 42: 779-781.

Taylor, G.T., M. Iabichella, T.Y. Ho, M.I. Scranton, R.C. Thunell, F. Muller-Karger & R. Varela. 2001. Chemoautotrophy in the redox transition zone of the Cariaco Basin: A significant midwater source of organic carbon production. Limnol. Oceanog. 46: 148-163.

Tebo, B.M., W.C. Ghiorse, L.G. van Waasbergen, P.L. Siering & R. Caspi. 1997. Bacterially mediated mineral formation: insights into manganese(II) oxidation from molecular genetic and biochemical studies, p. 225-266. In J. F. Banfield and K. H. Nealson (eds.). Geomicrobiology: Interactions Between Microbes and Minerals. Reviews in Mineralogy. Mineralogical Society of America, Washington, D.C.

Thamdrup, B., H. Fossing & B.B. Jørgensen. 1994. Manganese, iron, and sulfur cycling in a coastal marine sediment, Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 58: 5115-5129.

Thamdrup, B., D.E. Canfield, T.G. Ferdelman, R.N. Glud & J.K. Gundersen. 1996. A biogeochemical survey of the anoxic basin Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 44 (Suppl. 3): 19-33.

Tiedje, J.M. 1988 Ecology of denitrification and dissimilatroy nitrate reduction to ammonium. In A. Zehnder (ed.). Biology of Anaerobic Bacteria. Wiley, New York, New York, USA.

Vairavamurthy, A. & K. Mopper. 1990. Determination of sulfite and thiosulfate in aqueous samples including anoxic seawater by liquid chromatography after derivatization with 2, 2’-dithiobis(5-nitropyridine). Environ. Sci. Tech. 24: 333-337.

Van de Graaf, A. A., A. Mulder, P. de Bruijn, M. S. M. Jetten, L. A. Robertson & J. G. Kuenen. 1995. Anaerobic oxidation of ammonium is a biologically mediated process. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61: 1246-1251.

Van de Graaf, A.A., P. De Bruijn, L.A. Robertson, M.S.M. Jetten & J.G. Kuenen. 1997. Metabolic pathway of anaerobic ammonium oxidation on the basis of 15N studies in a fluidized bed reactor. Microbiol. 143: 2415-2421.

Vargas, J.A. & M. Wolff (eds.). 1996. Pacific coastal ecosystems of Costa Rica with emphasis on the Golfo Dulce and adyacent areas: a synoptic view based on the RV Víctor Hensen expedition 1993/1994, and previous studies. Rev. Biol. Trop. 44 (Suppl. 3): 1-238.

Wolff, M., H.J. Hartmann & V. Koch. 1996. A pilot trophic model for Golfo Dulce, fjord-like tropical embayment, Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 44 (Suppl. 3): 215-231.

Zhang, J.-Z. & F.J. Millero. 1993. The products from the oxidation of H2S in seawater. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 57: 1705-1718.

Zopfi, J., T.G. Ferdelman, B.B. Jørgensen, A. Teske & B. Thamdrup. 2001. Influence of water column dynamics on sulfide oxidation and other major biogeochemical processes in the chemocline of Mariager Fjord (Denmark). Mar. Chem. 74: 29-51.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

© 2017 Universidad de Costa Rica. Para ver más detalles sobre la distribución de los artículos en este sitio visite el aviso legal. Este sitio es desarrollado por UCRIndex y Open Journal Systems.