In the ocean’s major oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), oxygen is effectively absent from sea water and life is dominated by microorganisms that use chemicals other than oxygen for respiration. Recent studies that combine advanced genomic and chemical detection methods are delineating the different metabolic niches that microorganisms can occupy in OMZs. Understanding these niches, the microorganisms that inhabit them, and their influence on marine biogeochemical cycles is crucial as OMZs expand with increasing seawater temperatures.
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The authors thank the National Science Foundation (grants 1151698, 1558916 and 1564559 to F.J.S.) for generous and valuable support of OMZ research.
Nature Reviews Microbiology thanks A. Babbin, M. Kuypers and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Bertagnolli, A.D., Stewart, F.J. Microbial niches in marine oxygen minimum zones. Nat Rev Microbiol 16, 723–729 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-018-0087-z