Marine phytoplankton and the changing ocean iron cycle

The availability of the micronutrient iron governs phytoplankton growth across much of the ocean, but the global iron cycle is changing rapidly due to accelerating acidification, stratification, warming and deoxygenation. These mechanisms of global change will cumulatively affect the aqueous chemistry, sources and sinks, recycling, particle dynamics and bioavailability of iron. Biological iron demand will vary as acclimation to environmental change modifies cellular requirements for photosynthesis and nitrogen acquisition and as adaptive evolution or community shifts occur. Warming, acidification and nutrient co-limitation interactions with iron biogeochemistry will all strongly influence phytoplankton dynamics. Predicting the shape of the future iron cycle will require understanding the responses of each component of the unique biogeochemistry of this trace element to many concurrent and interacting environmental changes.

Hutchins D. A. & Boyd P. W., 2016. Marine phytoplankton and the changing ocean iron cycle. Nature Climate Change 6:1072–1079. Article (subscription required).

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