Dissolved iron in the vicinity of the Crozet Islands, Southern Ocean

Helene Planquette, Peter J. Statham, Gary Fones, Matthew A. Charette, C. Mark Moore, Ian Salter, Florence H. Nedelec, Sarah L. Taylor, M. French, A. R. Baker, N. Mahowald, T. D. Jickells

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    The annual phytoplankton bloom occurring north of the Crozet Plateau provides a rare opportunity to examine the hypothesis that natural iron fertilization can alleviate high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) conditions normally associated with the Southern Ocean. Therefore, during CROZet natural iron bloom and EXport experiment (CROZEX), a large multidisciplinary study performed between November 2004 and January 2005, measurements of total dissolved iron (DFe≤0.2 μm) were made on seawater from around the islands and atmospheric iron deposition estimated from rain and aerosol samples.DFe concentrations were determined by flow injection analysis with N,N-dimethyl-p-phenylenediamine dihydrochloride (DPD) catalytic spectrophotometric detection. DFe concentrations varied between 0.086 and 2.48 nM, with low values in surface waters. Enrichment of dissolved iron (>1 nM) at close proximity to the islands suggests that the plateau and the associated sediments are a source of iron. Waters farther north also appear to be affected by this input of coastal and shelf origin, although dissolved iron concentrations decrease as a function of distance to the north of the plateau with a gradient of ∼0.07 nM km−1 at the time of sampling. Using lateral and vertical diffusion coefficients derived from Ra isotope profiles and also estimates of atmospheric inputs, it was then possible to estimate a DFe concentration of ∼0.55 nM to the north of the islands prior to the bloom event, which is sufficient to initiate the bloom, the lateral island source being the largest component. A similar situation is observed for other Sub-Antarctic Islands such as Kerguelen, South Georgia, that supply dissolved iron to their surrounding waters, thus enhancing chlorophyll concentrations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1999-2019
    JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
    Issue number18-20
    Early online date27 Sept 2007
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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