Southern Ocean iron enrichment experiment: carbon cycling in high- and low-Si waters.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039-9647, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.2). 05/2004; 304(5669):408-14. DOI: 10.1126/science.1089778
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The availability of iron is known to exert a controlling influence on biological productivity in surface waters over large areas of the ocean and may have been an important factor in the variation of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over glacial cycles. The effect of iron in the Southern Ocean is particularly important because of its large area and abundant nitrate, yet iron-enhanced growth of phytoplankton may be differentially expressed between waters with high silicic acid in the south and low silicic acid in the north, where diatom growth may be limited by both silicic acid and iron. Two mesoscale experiments, designed to investigate the effects of iron enrichment in regions with high and low concentrations of silicic acid, were performed in the Southern Ocean. These experiments demonstrate iron's pivotal role in controlling carbon uptake and regulating atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide.

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    ABSTRACT: The atmospheric delivery of soluble and bioavailable iron (Fe) is essential for the biogeochemical functioning of many oceanic ecosystems where Fe is a limiting micronutrient for biological production. Aerosol samples associated with air masses characterized as European-influenced, primarily marine (no continental influence within 5 day back trajectories), or North African-influenced were collected along a cruise track in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean during a 2010 US GEOTRACES cruise. Aerosols were analyzed for total and soluble Fe and aluminum (Al) and organic matter (OM) loadings and OM chemical characteristics, to explore potential relationships between aerosol OM and Fe and Al that contribute to higher Fe and Al solubilities in combustion-influenced aerosols. Similar to the results from previous studies, North African-influenced air masses contained higher aerosol Fe (4.7–86 nmol m −3) and Al (13–240 nmol m −3) total loadings than European-influenced air masses (Fe: 0.63–2.7 nmol m −3 ; Al: 2.5–5.9 nmol m −3), but Fe and Al relative sol-ubilities were much higher for European (Fe: 2.1–4.6%; Al: 1.9–3.2%) versus North African-influenced aero-sols (Fe: 0.22–0.70%; Al: 0.39–1.1%). Water soluble organic carbon (WSOC) to trace metal ratios correlated positively with this trend in Fe and Al relative solubilities, as European-influenced WSOC/trace metal ratios ranged from ~2 to 32 while North African-influenced aerosol WSOC/trace metal ratios ranged from 0.04 to 0.51. Aerosols from primarily marine air masses showed the lowest Fe, Al, and OM loadings of all samples and Fe (0.71–2.5%) and Al (0.36–9.2%) solubilities that were variable and did not fit the patterns described for the continentally-influenced samples. Principal component analysis was employed on aerosol water soluble OM (WSOM) solution state 1 H nuclear magnetic resonance spectra and revealed the European-influenced aerosol WSOM to be characterized by higher contributions from acetic acid (a common photoproduct of atmospheric OM) and aliphatic hydrogens, while North African-influenced aerosol WSOM was characterized by carbohydrate-like compounds and compounds with unsaturations. The abundance of the acetic acid photoproduct in European-influenced aerosol WSOM suggests this WSOM to be rich in carboxyl groups that are thought to be strong Fe-binding ligands and provides evidence for the potential role of WSOM in maintaining aerosol Fe and Al solubilities.
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    ABSTRACT: Diatoms of the iron-replete continental margins and North Atlantic are key exporters of organic carbon. In contrast, diatoms of the iron-limited Antarctic Circumpolar Current sequester silicon, but comparatively little carbon, in the underlying deep ocean and sediments. Because the Southern Ocean is the major hub of oceanic nutrient distribution, selective silicon sequestration there limits diatom blooms elsewhere and consequently the biotic carbon sequestration potential of the entire ocean. We investigated this paradox in an in situ iron fertilization experiment by comparing accumulation and sinking of diatom populations inside and outside the iron-fertilized patch over 5 wk. A bloom comprising various thin- and thick-shelled diatom species developed inside the patch despite the presence of large grazer populations. After the third week, most of the thinner-shelled diatom species underwent mass mortality, formed large, mucous aggregates, and sank out en masse (carbon sinkers). In contrast, thicker-shelled species, in particular Fragilariopsis kerguelensis, persisted in the surface layers, sank mainly empty shells continuously, and reduced silicate concentrations to similar levels both inside and outside the patch (silica sinkers). These patterns imply that thick-shelled, hence grazer-protected, diatom species evolved in response to heavy copepod grazing pressure in the presence of an abundant silicate supply. The ecology of these silica-sinking species decouples silicon and carbon cycles in the iron-limited Southern Ocean, whereas carbon-sinking species, when stimulated by iron fertilization, export more carbon per silicon. Our results suggest that large-scale iron fertilization of the silicate-rich Southern Ocean will not change silicon sequestration but will add carbon to the sinking silica flux.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The growth dynamics of populations of interacting species in the aquatic environment is of great importance, both for understanding natural ecosystems and in efforts to cultivate these organisms for industrial purposes. Here we consider a simple two-species system wherein the bacterium Mesorhizobium loti supplies vitamin B12 (cobalamin) to the freshwater green alga Lobomonas rostrata, which requires this organic micronutrient for growth. In return, the bacterium receives photosynthate from the alga. Mathematical models are developed that describe minimally the interdependence between the two organisms, and that fit the experimental observations of the consortium. These models enable us to distinguish between different mechanisms of nutrient exchange between the organisms, and provide strong evidence that, rather than undergoing simple lysis and release of nutrients into the medium, M. loti regulates the levels of cobalamin it produces, resulting in a true mutualism with L. rostrata. Over half of all microalgae are dependent on an exogenous source of cobalamin for growth, and this vitamin is synthesised only by bacteria; it is very likely that similar symbiotic interactions underpin algal productivity more generally.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 13 February 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.9.
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