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Bistability in the redox chemistry of sediments and oceans
van de Velde, S.J.; Reinhard, C.T.; Ridgwell, A.; Meysman, F.J.R. (2020). Bistability in the redox chemistry of sediments and oceans. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 117(52): 33043-33050.
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The Academy: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0027-8424; e-ISSN 1091-6490, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    redox cycling; bistability; alternative stable states; sediments

Authors  Top 
  • van de Velde, S.J., more
  • Reinhard, C.T.
  • Ridgwell, A.
  • Meysman, F.J.R., more

    Changes in ocean redox chemistry are frequently observed in Earth’s history and have fundamental implications for the evolution of marine life. These transitions are commonly ascribed to large changes in the supply of iron, sulfur, or organic carbon in the deeper ocean. We propose that small variations in carbon input flux can drive nonreversible redox changes of the ocean interior and other anoxic systems, such as marine sediments. Nonlinear interactions in the iron and sulfur cycles create tipping points where regime shifts can occur between alternative stable states that are either iron dominated or sulfide dominated. The recognition that the biogeochemistry of sediments and oceans embeds intrinsic bistability provides a conceptual framework for understanding past and present anoxic marine systems.

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