Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A massive phytoplankton bloom induced by an ecosystem-scale iron fertilization experiment in the equatorial Pacific Ocean

Abstract

The seeding of an expanse of surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean with low concentrations of dissolved iron triggered a massive phytoplankton bloom which consumed large quantities of carbon dioxide and nitrate that these microscopic plants cannot fully utilize under natural conditions. These and other observations provide unequivocal support for the hypothesis that phytoplankton growth in this oceanic region is limited by iron bioavailability.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. Chisolm, S. W. & Morel, F. M. M. (eds) Limnol. Oceanogr. 36, 1507–1964 (1991).

  2. Siegenthaler, U. in The Role of Air-Sea Exchange in Geochemical Cycling (ed. Buat-Menard, P.) 209–247 (Reidel, Boston, 1986).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  3. Price, N. M., Anderson, L. F. & Morel, F. M. M. Deep-Sea Res. 38, 1361–1378 (1991).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Landry, M. R. et al. Limnol. Oceanogr. (in the press).

  5. Martin, J. H., Gordon, R. M., Fitzwater, S. E. & Broenkow, W. W. Deep-Sea Res. 36, 649–680 (1989).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Martin, J. H., Fitzwater, S. E. & Gordon, R. M. Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles 4, 5–12 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Martin, J. H., Gordon, R. M. & Fitzwater, S. E. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36, 1793–1802 (1991).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Coale, K. H. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36, 1851–1864 (1991).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. De Baar, H. J. W. et al. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 65, 34–44 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Price, N. M., Ahner, B. A. & Morel, F. M. M. Limnol. Oceanogr. 39, 520–534 (1994).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Johnson, K. S., Coale, K. H., Elrod, V. E. & Tindale, N. W. Mar. Chem. 46, 319–334 (1994).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Fitzwater, S. E., Coale, K. H., Gordon, R. M., Johnson, K. S. & Ondrusek, M. E. Deep-Sea Res. II 43 (in the press).

  13. Banse, K. Limnol. Oceanogr. 35, 772–775 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Dugdale, R. C. & Wilderson, F. P. Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles 4, 13–19 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Frost, B. W. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36, 1616–1630 (1991).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  16. Martin, J. H. et al. Nature 371, 123–129 (1994).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Watson, A. J. et al. Nature 371, 143–145 (1994).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Johnson, K. S., Gordon, R. M., Coale, K. H. & Elrod, V. A. Eos 76, OS154 (1996).

  19. Banse, K. Nature 375, 112 (1995).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Bruland, K. W., Donat, J. H. & Hutchins, D. H. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36, 1555–1577 (1991).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Zhuang, G. & Duce, R. A. Deep-Sea Res. 40, 1413–1429 (1993).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Csanady, G. T. in Ocean Dumping of Industrial Wastes (eds Ketchum, B. H., Kester, D. R. & Park, P. K. D.) 109–129 (Plenum, New York, 1978).

    Google Scholar 

  23. Coale, K. W., Fitzwater, S. E., Gordon, R. M., Johnson, K. S. & Barber, R. T. Nature 379, 621–624 (1996).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Dugdale, R. C. & Goering, J. J. Limnol. Oceanogr. 12, 196–206 (1967).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Sanderson, M. P., Hunter, C. N., Fitzwater, S. E., Gordon, R. M. & Barber, R. T. Deep-Sea Res. 42, 431–440 (1995).

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Chavez, F. P. et al. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36, 1816–1833 (1991).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Booth, B. C. Bot. Mar. 30, 101–108 (1987).

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  28. Landry, M. R., Kirshtein, J. & Constantiniou, J. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 120, 53–63 (1995).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  29. Chavez, F. P. Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles 3, 27–35 (1989).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  30. Chavez, F. P. & Smith, S. S. in Upwelling in the Ocean: Modern Processes and Ancient Records (eds Summerhayes, C. P., Emeis, K. C., Angel, M. V., Smith, R. L. & Zeitzschel, B.) 149–169 (Wiley, Chichester, 1995).

    Google Scholar 

  31. Chavez, F. P., Buck, K. R., Service, S. K., Newton, J. & Barber, R. T. Deep-Sea Res. (in the press).

  32. Latasa, M., Landry, M. R., Schluter, L. & Bidigare, R. R. Limnol. Oceanogr. (in the press).

  33. Fasham, M. J. R. Deep-Sea Res. 42, 1111–1149 (1995).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Huntley, M. E. & Lopez, M. D. G. Am. Nat. 140, 210–242 (1992).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Paffenhofer, G. A. & Knowles, S. C. J. Mar. Res. II 37, 35–49 (1979).

    Google Scholar 

  36. Rueter, J. G. & Morel, F. M. M. Limnol. Oceanogr. 26, 67–73 (1981).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. Morel, F. M. M. et al. Nature 369, 740–742 (1994).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Milliman, J. D. (ed.) Deep-Sea Res. II 40, (1993).

  39. Behrenfeld, M. J. et al. Nature 383, 508–511 (1996).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. Cooper, D. J., Watson, A. J. & Nightingale, P. D. Nature 383, 511–513 (1996).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. Kumar, N. et al. Nature 378, 675–680 (1995).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  42. Duce, R. A. & Tindale, N. W. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36, 1715–1726 (1991).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  43. Yung, Y. L., Lee, T., Wang, C. H. & Shieh, Y. T. Science 271, 962–963 (1996).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. Obata, H., Karatani, H. & Nakayama, E. Anal. Chem. 65, 1524–1528 (1994).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Bruland, K. W., Franks, R. P., Knauer, G. A. & Martin, J. H. Anal. Chim. Acta 155, 233–245 (1979).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Martin, J. H. Paleoceanography 5, 1–13 (1990).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Coale, K., Johnson, K., Fitzwater, S. et al. A massive phytoplankton bloom induced by an ecosystem-scale iron fertilization experiment in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Nature 383, 495–501 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1038/383495a0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/383495a0

This article is cited by

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing