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2018
Hogle, SL, Dupont CL, Hopkinson BM, King AL, Buck KN, Roe KL, Stuart RK, Allen AE, Mann EL, Johnson ZI, Barbeau KA.  2018.  Pervasive iron limitation at subsurface chlorophyll maxima of the California Current. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 115:13300-13305.   10.1073/pnas.1813192115   AbstractWebsite

Subsurface chlorophyll maximum layers (SCMLs) are nearly ubiquitous in stratified water columns and exist at horizontal scales ranging from the submesoscale to the extent of oligotrophic gyres. These layers of heightened chlorophyll and/or phytoplankton concentrations are generally thought to be a consequence of a balance between light energy from above and a limiting nutrient flux from below, typically nitrate (NO3). Here we present multiple lines of evidence demonstrating that iron (Fe) limits or with light colimits phytoplankton communities in SCMLs along a primary productivity gradient from coastal to oligotrophic offshore waters in the southern California Current ecosystem. SCML phytoplankton responded markedly to added Fe or Fe/light in experimental incubations and transcripts of diatom and picoeukaryote Fe stress genes were strikingly abundant in SCML metatranscriptomes. Using a biogeochemical proxy with data from a 40-y time series, we find that diatoms growing in California Current SCMLs are persistently Fe deficient during the spring and summer growing season. We also find that the spatial extent of Fe deficiency within California Current SCMLs has significantly increased over the last 25 y in line with a regional climate index. Finally, we show that diatom Fe deficiency may be common in the subsurface of major upwelling zones worldwide. Our results have important implications for our understanding of the biogeochemical consequences of marine SCML formation and maintenance.

2016
Semeniuk, DM, Taylor RL, Bundy RM, Johnson WK, Cullen JT, Robert M, Barbeau KA, Maldonado MT.  2016.  Iron-copper interactions in iron-limited phytoplankton in the northeast subarctic Pacific Ocean. Limnology and Oceanography. 61:279-297.   10.1002/lno.10210   AbstractWebsite

In August 2010, iron (Fe) and Fe and copper (Cu) addition incubation experiments were conducted at two low Fe stations (P20 and P26) along Line P, off the western coast of British Columbia, to investigate Cu physiology in Fe- and Fe-light co-limited phytoplankton. Chlorophyll a concentrations ([Chl a]), maximum variable fluorescence yield (F-v/F-m), and Fe uptake rates by the Cu-dependent high-affinity Fe transport system (HAFeTS) were measured. Additions of Fe resulted in an increase in [Chl a] and F-v/F-m at both stations compared with the controls, regardless of light availability, and confirmed that the phytoplankton communities were Fe-limited. Uptake of Fe by the HAFeTS in both incubations increased with the addition of Fe, and likely reflects luxury Fe uptake and storage. While the in situ inorganic Cu concentrations were similar to those that can induce Cu-limitation in laboratory cultures, increasing Cu availability had no effect on biomass accumulation during both incubations, regardless of Fe availability or light regime. At P26, additions of 1 nmol L-1 CuSO4 resulted in a short-term increase in F-v/F-m of the phytoplankton community, and an increase in Fe uptake rates by large phytoplankton (>5 mu m), but only when light was not limiting. These data confirm a complex interaction between light, Fe and Cu physiology in indigenous phytoplankton communities, and suggest that these interactions may be both spatially heterogeneous and different for different phytoplankton size classes.

2015
Semeniuk, DM, Bundy RM, Payne CD, Barbeau KA, Maldonado MT.  2015.  Acquisition of organically complexed copper by marine phytoplankton and bacteria in the northeast subarctic Pacific Ocean. Marine Chemistry. 173:222-233.   10.1016/j.marchem.2015.01.005   AbstractWebsite

Copper (Cu) is an essential micronutrient for marine phytoplankton, but can cause toxicity at elevated intracellular concentrations. The majority of Cu (>99.9%) in oceanic surface waters is bound to strong organic ligands, presumably produced by prokaryotes to detoxify Cu. Although laboratory studies have demonstrated that organically complexed Cu may be bioavailable to marine eukaryotic phytoplankton, the bioavailability of Cu organic complexes to indigenous marine phytoplankton has not been examined in detail. Using the carrier free radioisotope Cu-67 at an iron limited station in the northeast subarctic Pacific Ocean, we performed size fractionated short-term Cu uptake assays with three Cu(II)-chelates, and Cu-67 bound to the strong in situ ligands, with or without additions of weak Cu(I) ligands. Estimates of the maximum supply of inorganic Cu (Cu') to the cell surface of eukaryotic phytoplankton were unable to account for the observed Cu uptake rates from the in situ ligands and two of the three added Cu(II)-chelates. Addition of 10 nM weak organic Cu(I) ligands enhanced uptake of Cu bound to the in situ ligands. Thus, Cu within the in situ and strong artificial Cu(II) organic ligands was accessible to the phytoplankton community via various possible Cu uptake strategies, including; cell surface enzymatically mediated reduction of Cu(II) to Cu(I), the substrate of the high-affinity Cu transport system in eukaryotes; or ligand exchange between weak Cu-binding ligands and the cellular Cu transporters. During a 14-hour uptake assay, particulate Cu concentrations reached a plateau in most treatments. Losses were observed in some treatments, especially in the small size fractions (<5 mu m), corresponding with faster initial Cu uptake rates. This may indicate that Cu cycling is rapid between particulate and dissolved phases due to cellular efflux or remineralization by micrograzers. The acquisition of Cu from the strong in situ ligands puts into question the historic role attributed to Cu binding ligands in decreasing Cu bioavailability. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Fitzsimmons, JN, Bundy RM, Al-Subiai SN, Barbeau KA, Boyle EA.  2015.  The composition of dissolved iron in the dusty surface ocean: An exploration using size-fractionated iron-binding ligands. Marine Chemistry. 173:125-135.   10.1016/j.marchem.2014.09.002   AbstractWebsite

The size partitioning of dissolved iron and organic iron-binding ligands into soluble and colloidal phases was investigated in the upper 150 m of two stations along the GA03 U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic transect. The size fractionation was completed using cross-flow filtration methods, followed by analysis by isotope dilution inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ID-ICP-MS) for iron and competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) for iron-binding ligands. On average, 80% of the 0.1-0.65 nM dissolved iron (<0.2 mu m) was partitioned into the colloidal iron (cFe) size fraction (10 kDa < cFe <0.2 gm), as expected for areas of the ocean underlying a dust plume. The 1.3-2.0 nM strong organic iron-binding ligands, however, overwhelmingly (75-77%) fell into the soluble size fraction (<10 kDa). As a result, modeling the dissolved iron size fractionation at equilibrium using the observed ligand partitioning did not accurately predict the iron partitioning into colloidal and soluble pools. This suggests that either a portion of colloidal ligands is missed by current electrochemical methods because they react with iron more slowly than the equilibration time of our CLE-ACSV method, or part of the observed colloidal iron is actually inorganic in composition and thus cannot be predicted by our model of unbound iron-binding ligands. This potentially contradicts the prevailing view that greater than >99% of dissolved iron in the ocean is organically complexed. Disentangling the chemical form of iron in the upper ocean has important implications for surface ocean biogeochemistry and may affect iron uptake by phytoplankton. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Brzezinski, MA, Krause JW, Bundy RM, Barbeau KA, Franks P, Goericke R, Landry MR, Stukel MR.  2015.  Enhanced silica ballasting from iron stress sustains carbon export in a frontal zone within the California Current. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:4654-4669.   10.1002/2015jc010829   AbstractWebsite

Nutrient dynamics, phytoplankton rate processes, and export were examined in a frontal region between an anticyclone and a pair of cyclones 120 km off the coast in the southern California Current System (sCCS). Low silicic acid: nitrate ratios (Si:N) and high nitrate to iron ratios (N: Fe) characteristic of Fe-limiting conditions in the sCCS were associated with the northern cyclone and with the transition zone between the cyclones and the anticyclone. Phytoplankton growth in low-Si:N, high-N:Fe waters responded strongly to added Fe, confirming growth limitation by Fe of the diatom-dominated phytoplankton community. Low Si: N waters had low biogenic silica content, intermediate productivity, but high export compared to intermediate Si: N waters indicating increased export efficiency under Fe stress. Biogenic silica and particulate organic carbon (POC) export were both high beneath low Si: N waters with biogenic silica export being especially enhanced. This suggests that relatively high POC export from low Si: N waters was supported by silica ballasting from Fe-limited diatoms. Higher POC export efficiency in low Si: N waters may have been further enhanced by lower rates of organic carbon remineralization due to reduced grazing of more heavily armored diatoms growing under Fe stress. The results imply that Fe stress can enhance carbon export, despite lowering productivity, by driving higher export efficiency.

2014
Hogle, SL, Barbeau KA, Gledhill M.  2014.  Heme in the marine environment: from cells to the iron cycle. Metallomics. 6:1107-1120.   10.1039/c4mt00031e   AbstractWebsite

Hemes are iron containing heterocyclic molecules important in many cellular processes. In the marine environment, hemes participate as enzymatic cofactors in biogeochemically significant processes like photosynthesis, respiration, and nitrate assimilation. Further, hemoproteins, hemes, and their analogs appear to be iron sources for some marine bacterioplankton under certain conditions. Current oceanographic analytical methodologies allow for the extraction and measurement of heme b from marine material, and a handful of studies have begun to examine the distribution of heme b in ocean basins. The study of heme in the marine environment is still in its infancy, but some trends can be gleaned from the work that has been published so far. In this review, we summarize what is known or might be inferred about the roles of heme in marine microbes as well as the few studies on heme in the marine environment that have been conducted to date. We conclude by presenting some future questions and challenges for the field.

2013
Bundy, RM, Barbeau KA, Buck KN.  2013.  Sources of strong copper-binding ligands in Antarctic Peninsula surface waters. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 90:134-146.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2012.07.023   AbstractWebsite

Copper-binding organic ligands were measured during austral winter in surface waters around the Antarctic Peninsula using competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry with multiple analytical windows. Samples were collected from four distinct water masses including the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front, Bransfield Strait, and the shelf region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Strong copper-binding organic ligands were detected in each water mass. The strongest copper-binding ligands were detected at the highest competition strength in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, with an average conditional stability constant of logK(CuL,Cu2+)(cond) = 16.00 +/- 0.82. The weakest ligands were found at the lowest competition strength in the shelf region with logK(CuL,Cu2+)(cond) = 12.68 +/- 0.48. No ligands with stability constants less than logK(CuL,Cu2+)(cond) = 13.5 were detected in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current at any competition strength, suggesting a shelf source of weaker copper-binding ligands. Free, hydrated copper ion concentrations, the biologically available form of dissolved copper, were less than 10(-14) M in all samples, approaching levels that may be limiting for some types of inducible iron acquisition. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

2012
Buck, KN, Moffett J, Barbeau KA, Bundy RM, Kondo Y, Wu JF.  2012.  The organic complexation of iron and copper: an intercomparison of competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) techniques. Limnology and Oceanography-Methods. 10:496-515.   10.4319/lom.2012.10.496   AbstractWebsite

Characterization of the speciation of iron and copper is an important objective of the GEOTRACES Science Plan. To incorporate speciation measurements into such a multinational program, standard practices must be adopted that allow data from multiple labs to be synthesized. Competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) is the primary technique employed for measuring metal-binding ligands and determining metal speciation in seawater. The determination of concentrations and conditional stability constants of metal-binding ligands is particularly challenging, as results can be influenced both by experimental conditions and interpretation of titration data. Here, we report an investigation between four laboratories to study the speciation of iron and copper using CLE-ACSV. Samples were collected on the GEOTRACES II intercomparison cruise in the North Pacific Ocean in May 2009 at 30 degrees N, 140 degrees W. This intercomparison was carried out shipboard and included an assessment of the viability of sample preservation by freezing. Results showed that consensus values could be obtained between different labs, but that some existing practices were problematic and require further attention in future work. A series of recommendations emerged from this study that will be useful in implementing multi-investigator programs like GEOTRACES.

King, AL, Buck KN, Barbeau KA.  2012.  Quasi-Lagrangian drifter studies of iron speciation and cycling off Point Conception, California. Marine Chemistry. 128:1-12.   10.1016/j.marchem.2011.11.001   AbstractWebsite

The distribution and speciation of dissolved Fe (dFe) were measured during four quasi-Lagrangian drogued drifter studies (similar to 4 d duration each) that were conducted in the southern California Current System in May 2006 and April 2007. Three of the four drifter studies were within the coastal upwelling regime and one drifter study was in a warm-core anticyclonic eddy. Incubation bottle experiments were also conducted to determine the degree of phytoplankton Fe limitation and to assess changes in the concentration of Fe-binding ligands. In the coastal upwelling drifter studies, in situ dFe (1.4-1.8 nM) and macronutrients were initially high and declined over time. Fe addition incubation experiments indicated that the phytoplankton community was not Fe limited at the beginning of the coastal upwelling drifter experiments (when mu M nitrate:nM dFe ratios were similar to 7-8). By the end of two of the three drifter studies (when mu M nitrate:nM dFe ratios were similar to 12-19), Fe addition resulted in larger nitrate and silicic acid drawdown, and larger accumulations in chlorophyll a, particulate organic carbon and nitrogen, and diatom and dinoflagellate-specific carotenoid pigments. Fe speciation was measured in situ in three of the four drifter studies with stronger L-1-type ligands found to be present in excess of dFe in all samples. In Fe speciation incubation experiments. L-1-type ligand production was observed in conjunction with phytoplankton growth under Fe-limiting conditions. The results presented here support and add a quasi-Lagrangian perspective to previous observations of dFe and macronutrient cycling over space and time within the California coastal upwelling regime, including Fe limitation within the phytoplankton community in this region and the biological production of Fe-binding ligands concomitant with Fe limitation. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2007
Hopkinson, BM, Barbeau KA.  2007.  Organic and redox speciation of iron in the eastern tropical North Pacific suboxic zone. Marine Chemistry. 106:2-17.   10.1016/j.marchem.2006.02.008   AbstractWebsite

The organic and redox speciation of iron was examined in the strongly layered upper water column of the eastern tropical North Pacific, including oxic and sub oxic waters, in a region 100- 1300 km offshore. Suboxic conditions ([O-2] < 5 mu M) were found to affect the organic speciation of iron, and reduced dissolved iron, Fc(II), was present in the suboxic zone, but conditions were not sufficiently reducing to convert all iron to Fe(II). Dissolved iron concentrations in the suboxic zone were similar to concentrations found in oxic regions. Using a competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) method, natural ligands were found to have distinct characteristics in the oxic and suboxic waters with stronger ligands found in the suboxic zone. It is unusual to find stronger ligands below the euphotic zone, but their strength, logK(Fe'L) = 12.1-12.8, is within the range determined for surface ligands in other regions. These strong ligands may be the result of the unique chemistry of the suboxic zone stabilizing reduced or labile compounds, or they may be actively produced by microbes to enhance iron uptake. No onshore-offshore trends in ligand strength or concentration were detected suggesting the ligands may result from the inherent chemistry of the suboxic zone or production from denitrifiers, rather than the resident suboxic zone population of Prochlorococcus which were more abundant nearshore. A luminol-chemiluminescence based flow injection analysis (FIA) technique capable of detecting picomolar concentrations of Fe(II) was used to assess the redox state of iron in the suboxic zone and overlying oxic waters at a station 1300 km offshore. An elevated signal equivalent to 0.12-0.15 nM Fe(II), 21-24% of dissolved iron, was found only in the suboxic waters. Oxidation kinetics suggest that this Fe(II) is most likely produced by an in-situ process, as opposed to being transported from shelf sediment. The luminol-chemiluminescence Fe(II) method was systematically tested for inferences from reduced species potentially present in the suboxic zone to validate our Fe(II) results. Several species, V(IV) and V(111), produced significant signals, but considerations of the reducing state of the suboxic zone make it unlikely that reduced V is present. With additional information on the identity of the suboxic zone species provided by analysis of signal decay rate, it was determined that Fe(II) was the most reasonable source of the signal, and at minimum the chemiluminescence data allows us to set limits on the Fe(II) concentration in the offshore suboxic water column. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2006
Barbeau, K.  2006.  Photochemistry of organic iron(III) complexing ligands in oceanic systems. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 82:1505-1516.   10.1562/2006-06-16-ir-935   AbstractWebsite

Iron is a limiting nutrient for primary production in marine systems, and photochemical processes play a significant role in the upper ocean biogeochemical cycling of this key element. In recent years, progress has been made toward understanding the role of biologically produced organic ligands in controlling the speciation and photochemical redox cycling of iron in ocean surface waters. Most (> 99%) of the dissolved iron in seawater is now known to be associated with strong organic ligands. New data concerning the structure and photochemical reactivity of strong Fe(III) binding ligands (siderophores) produced by pelagic marine bacteria suggest that direct photolysis via ligand-to-metal charge transfer reactions may be an important mechanism for the production of reduced, biologically available iron (Fe[II]) in surface waters. Questions remain, however, about the importance of these processes relative to secondary photochemical reactions with photochemically produced radical species, such as superoxide (O-2(-))The mechanism of superoxide-mediated reduction of Fe(III) in the presence of strong Fe(III) organic ligands is also open to debate. This review highlights recent findings, including both model ligand studies and experimental/observational studies of the natural seawater ligand pool.