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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.

King, AL, Barbeau K.  2007.  Evidence for phytoplankton iron limitation in the southern California Current System. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 342:91-103.   10.3354/meps342091   AbstractWebsite

Observations of phytoplankton iron limitation in the world's oceans have primarily been confined to high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll (HNLC) regimes, found in the western equatorial and subarctic Pacific, Southern Ocean, and coastal upwelling zones off California and Peru. We investigated the potential for phytoplankton iron limitation in coastal transition zones (50 to 200 km offshore) of the southern California Current System, a weak upwelling regime that is relatively low in nutrients (< 4 mu mol nitrate 1(-1)) and low in chlorophyll (< 1 mu g chl a 1(-1)). In grow-out incubation experiments conducted during summer, July 2003 and 2004, phytoplankton responded to nanomolar iron additions, despite the non-HNLC initial conditions, Observed changes in phytoplankton and nutrient parameters upon iron addition were significant, although markedly lower in amplitude relative to typical grow-out experiments in HNLC regimes. While we cannot disprove alternate explanations for the observed limitation of phytoplankton growth, such as a proximate grazing control, our results indicate that phytoplankton growth in the southern California Current System is, at times, limited by the supply of iron. Based on our findings and the results of previous studies in this region, we suggest that phytoplankton biomass is generally limited by the supply of nitrate, while iron, directly or indirectly, influences macronutrient utilization, community species composition, and phytoplankton spatial and temporal distribution.