Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Oxygen is fundamental to life. Not only is it essential for the survival of individual animals, but it regulates global cycles of major nutrients and carbon. The oxygen content of the open ocean and coastal waters has been declining for at least the past half-century, largely because of human activities that have increased global temperatures and nutrients discharged to coastal waters. These changes have accelerated consumption of oxygen by microbial respiration, reduced solubility of oxygen in water, and reduced the rate of oxygen resupply from the atmosphere to the ocean interior, with a wide range of biological and ecological consequences. Further research is needed to understand and predict long-term, global-and regional-scale oxygen changes and their effects on marine and estuarine fisheries and ecosystems.


  • Denise Breitburg
  • Lisa A. Levin
  • Andreas Oschlies
  • Marilaure Grégoire
  • Francisco P. Chavez
  • Véronique Garçon
  • Denis Gilbert
  • Dimitri Gutiérrez
  • Kirsten Isensee
  • Gil S. Jacinto
  • Karin E. Limburg
  • Ivonne Montes
  • S. W.A. Naqvi
  • Grant C. Pitcher
  • Nancy N. Rabalais
  • Michael R. Roman
  • Kenneth A. Rose
  • Brad A. Seibel
  • Maciej Telszewski
  • Moriaki Yasuhara
  • Jing Zhang
External organisations
  • University of California, San Diego
  • GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • University of Liège
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Cayetano Heredia University
  • University of the Philippines
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research
  • University of Cape Town
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Hong Kong
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
  • LEGOS Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales
  • Maurice Lamontagne Institute
  • Instituto del Mar del Peru (IMARPE)
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
  • Geophysical Institute of Peru
  • Fisheries Research and Development
  • University of Maryland
  • University of South Florida
  • Institute of Oceanology, PAS
  • East China Normal University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaam7240
Issue number6371
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 5
Publication categoryResearch