Concluding remarks

Based on the points discussed in the sections above, it is clear that the marine pathways to N2O (which are exclusively biological processes) have been and will be sensitive to ongoing environmental changes. We do not know, however, how the oceanic N2O pathways will be altered and it is even more difficult to predict how the future oceanic N2O emissions will be affected. Our rather poor ability to predict the future oceanic N2O cycling (and to explain the N2O palaeorecord) is due to the fact that we still have an only rudimentary knowledge about both the oceanic distribution of N2O and the mechanisms of its major production processes. Emerging new aspects such as possible N2O formation during anammox or by archaea might have the potential to change our traditional view of the oceanic N2O pathways in the near future.

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