Review Article | Published:

The integral role of iron in ocean biogeochemistry

Nature volume 543, pages 5159 (02 March 2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

The micronutrient iron is now recognized to be important in regulating the magnitude and dynamics of ocean primary productivity, making it an integral component of the ocean’s biogeochemical cycles. In this Review, we discuss how a recent increase in observational data for this trace metal has challenged the prevailing view of the ocean iron cycle. Instead of focusing on dust as the major iron source and emphasizing iron’s tight biogeochemical coupling to major nutrients, a more complex and diverse picture of the sources of iron, its cycling processes and intricate linkages with the ocean carbon and nitrogen cycles has emerged.

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Acknowledgements

A.T. acknowledges support from Natural Environment Research Council (NE/N0010791 and NE/N009525/1) and the Royal Society. A.R.B. acknowledges support from the Australian Research Council (FT130100037 and DP150100345) and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. P.W.B. acknowledges support from the Australian Research Council (Laureate Fellowship FL160100131). K.N.B. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (OCE-1446327 and PLR-1443483). K.S.J. acknowledges support by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. M.A.S. acknowledges support from National Science Foundation (NSF-1435-556) and the Gordon Betty Moore Foundation (3782).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Earth Ocean and Ecological Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

    • Alessandro Tagliabue
  2. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

    • Andrew R. Bowie
    •  & Philip W. Boyd
  3. University of South Florida, Florida, USA

    • Kristen N. Buck
  4. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Monterey, California, USA

    • Kenneth S. Johnson
  5. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA

    • Mak A. Saito

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This review article was originated by A.T., who led the writing of the manuscript. All co-authors contributed to the ideas and the writing of the review.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alessandro Tagliabue.

Reviewer Information Nature thanks K. Misumi, M. Moore and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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