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Journal Article
Hopkinson, BM, Mitchell G, Reynolds RA, Wang H, Selph KE, Measures CI, Hewes CD, Holm-Hansen O, Barbeau KA.  2007.  Iron limitation across chlorophyll gradients in the southern Drake Passage: Phytoplankton responses to iron addition and photosynthetic indicators of iron stress. Limnology and Oceanography. 52:2540-2554.   10.4319/lo.2007.52.6.2540   AbstractWebsite

Processes influencing phytoplankton bloom development in the southern Drake Passage were studied using shipboard iron-enrichment incubations conducted across a surface chlorophyll gradient near the Antarctic Peninsula, in a region of water mass mixing. Iron incubation assays showed that Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) waters were severely iron limited, while shelf waters with high ambient iron concentrations (1-2 nmol L-1) were iron replete, demonstrating that mixing of the two water masses is a plausible mechanism for generation of the high phytoplankton biomass observed downstream of the Antarctic Peninsula. In downstream high-chlorophyll mixed waters, phytoplankton growth rates were also iron limited, although responses to iron addition were generally more moderate as compared to ACC waters. Synthesizing results from all experiments, significant correlations were found between the initial measurements of Photosystem II (PSII) parameters (F-v: F-m, sigma(PSII), and p) and the subsequent responses of these waters to iron addition. These correlations indicate that PSII parameters can be used to assess the degree of iron stress experienced in these waters and likely in other regions where photoinhibition and nitrogen stress are not confounding factors.

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.

Hopkinson, BM, Seegers B, Hatta M, Measures CI, Mitchell BG, Barbeau KA.  2013.  Planktonic C:Fe ratios and carrying capacity in the southern Drake Passage. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 90:102-111.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2012.09.001   AbstractWebsite

The carbon to iron (C:Fe) ratio of planktonic biomass constrains net production in iron-limited regions of the ocean and is an important parameter for predicting biomass production from iron inputs. On a cruise to the southern Drake Passage in July-August 2006, we used two approaches to determine the C:Fe ratio of planktonic material: dual-radiotracer labeling and net biomass production in iron-limited grow-out experiments. There was variability in C:Fe ratios among experiments, but values from the two methods overlapped with average values of 1.4 x 10(5) (mol:mol) for the radiotracer method and 1.7 x 10(5) for the net biomass production method. This is notable since the net biomass production method is a new approach to determine C:Fe ratios. Although it has potential issues related to bottle effects and sensitivity to trace contamination, the method avoids some of the questions associated with iron speciation and bioavailability since ambient iron supports production. Because light intensity is known to affect C:Fe ratios in phytoplankton through photosynthetic iron demands, we tested the effect of light level on C:Fe in Antarctic assemblages. In contrast to what is seen in many phytoplankton cultures, C:Fe ratios increased at low-light, but we suspect that this is due to initial photoinhibition of the low-light adapted winter assemblages at higher light levels. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.