Human-induced carbon emissions are altering the modern climate, with severe repercussions on ecosystems. Among others, anthropogenic pressure is causing deoxygenation of the bottom water, with the widespread establishment of hypoxic zones in several Mediterranean areas. The geological archives allow investigating past deoxygenation dynamics (sapropel events) and their impact on marine ecosystems. Here, we compare the causes and the evolution of deoxygenation dynamics which occurred during two different time periods (Messinian and Holocene) in different paleoceanographic settings based on their micropaleontological content. The Messinian sapropel events are the result of increased export productivity during a relatively cold and arid context, triggering bottom anoxic conditions. The Holocene sapropel formed in response to weakening/stopping of the thermohaline circulation due to increasing temperature and freshwater input. Our results suggest that the deoxygenation dynamics in the Mediterranean in the near future will not follow the trend characteristic of the Holocene deep-sea sapropel because of the predicted drying trend. Differently, the paleoceanographic setting triggering the Messinian shallow-sea sapropels is comparable with the modern situation in different Mediterranean areas, where human-induced eutrophication is promoting deoxygenation. Based on these results, we suggest that the patchy deoxygenation trend in the Mediterranean Sea caused by climate warming may lead to a drastic change in the ecosystem services which would likely impact human activities.
Past Analogues of Deoxygenation Events in the Mediterranean Sea: A Tool to Constrain Future Impacts / Maria Mancini, Alan; Bocci, Giacomo; Morigi, Caterina; Gennari, Rocco; Lozar, Francesca; Negri, Alessandra. - In: JOURNAL OF MARINE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. - ISSN 2077-1312. - ELETTRONICO. - 11:3(2023), pp. 1-19. [10.3390/jmse11030562]