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Roe, KL, Barbeau K, Mann EL, Haygood MG.  2012.  Acquisition of iron by Trichodesmium and associated bacteria in culture. Environmental Microbiology. 14:1681-1695.   10.1111/j.1462-2920.2011.02653.x   AbstractWebsite

Trichodesmium colonies contain an abundant microbial consortium that is likely to play a role in nutrient cycling within the colony. This study used laboratory cultures of Trichodesmium and two genome-sequenced strains of bacteria typical of Trichodesmium-associated microbes to develop an understanding of the cycling of iron, a potentially limiting micronutrient, within Trichodesmium colonies. We found that the ferric siderophores desferrioxamine B and aerobactin were not readily bioavailable to Trichodesmium, relative to ferric chloride or citrate-associated iron. In contrast, the representative bacterial strains we studied were able to acquire iron from all of the iron sources, implying that naturally occurring Trichodesmium-associated bacteria may be capable of utilizing a more diverse array of iron sources than Trichodesmium. From the organism-specific uptake data collected in this study, a theoretical Trichodesmium colony was designed to model whole colony iron uptake. The bacteria accounted for most (> 70%) of the iron acquired by the colony, highlighting the importance of determining organism-specific uptake in a complex environment. Our findings suggest that, although they may share the same micro-environment, Trichodesmium and its colony-associated microbial cohort may differ substantially in terms of iron acquisition strategy.

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.

McQuaid, JB, Kustka AB, Obornik M, Horak A, McCrow JR, Karas BJ, Zheng H, Kindeberg T, Andersson AJ, Barbeau KA, Allen AE.  2018.  Carbonate-sensitive phytotransferrin controls high-affinity iron uptake in diatoms. Nature. 555:534-537.   10.1038/nature25982   AbstractWebsite

In vast areas of the ocean, the scarcity of iron controls the growth and productivity of phytoplankton(1,2). Although most dissolved iron in the marine environment is complexed with organic molecules(3), picomolar amounts of labile inorganic iron species (labile iron) are maintained within the euphotic zone(4) and serve as an important source of iron for eukaryotic phytoplankton and particularly for diatoms(5). Genome-enabled studies of labile iron utilization by diatoms have previously revealed novel iron responsive transcripts(6,7), including the ferric iron-concentrating protein ISIP2A(8), but the mechanism behind the acquisition of picomolar labile iron remains unknown. Here we show that ISIP2A is a phytotransferrin that independently and convergently evolved carbonate ion-coordinated ferric iron binding. Deletion of ISIP2A disrupts high-affinity iron uptake in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and uptake is restored by complementation with human transferrin. ISIP2A is internalized by endocytosis, and manipulation of the seawater carbonic acid system reveals a second order dependence on the concentrations of labile iron and carbonate ions. In P. tricornutum, the synergistic interaction of labile iron and carbonate ions occurs at environmentally relevant concentrations, revealing that carbonate availability co-limits iron uptake. Phytotransferrin sequences have a broad taxonomic distribution(8) and are abundant in marine environmental genomic datasets(9,10), suggesting that acidification-driven declines in the concentration of seawater carbonate ions will have a negative effect on this globally important eukaryotic iron acquisition mechanism.

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.

Hogle, SL, Bundy RM, Blanton JM, Allen EE, Barbeau KA.  2016.  Copiotrophic marine bacteria are associated with strong iron-binding ligand production during phytoplankton blooms. Limnology and Oceanography Letters. 1:36-43.   10.1002/lol2.10026   Abstract

Although marine bacteria were identified nearly two decades ago as potential sources for strong iron-binding organic ligands detected in seawater, specific linkages between ligands detected in natural water and the microbial community remain unclear. We compared the production of different classes of iron-binding ligands, dissolved iron and macronutrient concentrations, and phytoplankton and bacterioplankton assemblages in a series of iron amended 6-d incubations. Incubations with high iron additions had near complete macronutrient consumption and higher phytoplankton biomass compared with incubations with low iron additions, but both iron treatments were dominated by diatoms. However, we only detected the strongest ligands in high-iron treatments, and strong iron-binding ligands were generally correlated with an increased abundance of copiotrophic bacteria, particularly Alteromonas strains. Ultimately, these robust correlations suggest a potential linkage between copiotrophic bacteria and strong iron-binding ligand production after iron fertilization events in the marine environment.

Stuart, RK, Bundy R, Buck K, Ghassemain M, Barbeau K, Palenik B.  2017.  Copper toxicity response influences mesotrophic Synechococcus community structure. Environmental Microbiology. 19:756-769.   10.1111/1462-2920.13630   AbstractWebsite

Picocyanobacteria from the genus Synechococcus are ubiquitous in ocean waters. Their phylogenetic and genomic diversity suggests ecological niche differentiation, but the selective forces influencing this are not well defined. Marine picocyanobacteria are sensitive to Cu toxicity, so adaptations to this stress could represent a selective force within, and between, species', also known as clades. Here, we compared Cu stress responses in cultures and natural populations of marine Synechococcus from two co-occurring major mesotrophic clades (I and IV). Using custom microarrays and proteomics to characterize expression responses to Cu in the lab and field, we found evidence for a general stress regulon in marine Synechococcus. However, the two clades also exhibited distinct responses to copper. The Clade I representative induced expression of genomic island genes in cultures and Southern California Bight populations, while the Clade IV representative downregulated Fe-limitation proteins. Copper incubation experiments suggest that Clade IV populations may harbour stress-tolerant subgroups, and thus fitness tradeoffs may govern Cu-tolerant strain distributions. This work demonstrates that Synechococcus has distinct adaptive strategies to deal with Cu toxicity at both the clade and subclade level, implying that metal toxicity and stress response adaptations represent an important selective force for influencing diversity within marine Synechococcus populations.

Moffett, JW, Brand LE, Croot PL, Barbeau KA.  1997.  Cu Speciation and Cyanobacterial Distribution in Harbors Subject to Anthropogenic Cu Inputs. Limnology and Oceanography. 42:789-799.: American Society of Limnology and Oceanography   10.2307/2838883   AbstractWebsite

Cu speciation was studied in four harbors on the south coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, that are exposed to varying degress of Cu contamination from anthropogenic sources. Copper in waters outside the harbors was complexed by ∼ 10 nM of very strong chelators, twofold higher than ambient Cu concentrations. In Eel Pond (Woods Hole) and Falmouth Inner Harbor, total dissolved Cu concentrations were 7-10-fold higher. However, because the strong chelators were saturated in these two harbors, the free Cu increased by 1,000-fold, from $\thicksim 10^13 M$ to $\thicksim 10^-10 M$ . There was no evidence for any enhanced biological production of chelators in response to the elevated Cu concentrations. However, cell densities of cyanobacteria, which have been proposed as a source of strong Cu chelators in seawater, decline drastically in the high Cu harbors. These trends are consistent with culture studies showing that Synechococcus sp., the predominant cyanophyte in these waters, shows a dramatic decrease in growth rates above a free Cu2+ level of 10-11 M. In Great Pond and Waquoit Bay, which showed no significant Cu contamination or saturation of strong ligands, cyanobacterial cell densities showed little or no decrease. Results suggest that significant anthropogenic inputs of Cu may overwhelm processes occurring in seawater that lead Cu and strong chelator concentrations to approach comparable levels.

Hogle, SL, Brahamsha B, Barbeau KA.  2017.  Direct Heme Uptake by Phytoplankton-Associated Roseobacter Bacteria. mSystems. 2(1):e00124-16.   10.1128/mSystems.00124-16   AbstractWebsite

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Barbeau, KA, Moffett JW.  1998.  Dissolution of Iron Oxides by Phagotrophic Protists:  Using a Novel Method To Quantify Reaction Rates. Environmental Science & Technology. 32:2969-2975.: American Chemical Society   10.1021/es9802549   AbstractWebsite

In previous work, we have reported the dissolution of iron oxides within the acidic food vacuoles of marine protozoan grazers as evidence of a novel mechanism for the conversion of refractory iron solids to more labile forms in oxic surface waters. This paper expands upon those initial studies and presents a new technique to study the reaction of iron oxides in seawater, based on the synthesis of colloidal ferrihydrite containing an inert tracer. Measuring the accumulation of the tracer in the dissolved phase enables the determination of the rate and extent of iron oxide reaction, even for kinetically slow processes and regardless of the fate of iron in the system. The validity of the method as a means of following the reaction of iron oxides in seawater is shown here in a series of co-dissolution studies and in several photochemical kinetics experiments. In laboratory studies of the dissolution of colloidal ferrihydrite by protozoan grazers, the inert tracer method enables an improved estimate of the rate of protozoan-mediated iron oxide dissolution, confirming our previous results and providing a useful tool for further studies of phagotrophy as a reaction pathway for refractory iron.

King, AL, Barbeau KA.  2011.  Dissolved iron and macronutrient distributions in the southern California Current System. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 116   10.1029/2010jc006324   AbstractWebsite

The distribution of dissolved iron in the southern California Current System (sCCS) is presented from seven research cruises between 2002 and 2006. Dissolved iron concentrations were generally low in most of the study area (<0.5 nM), although high mixed layer and water column dissolved iron concentrations (up to 8 nM) were found to be associated with coastal upwelling, both along the continental margin and some island platforms. A significant supply of iron was probably not from a deep remineralized source but rather from the continental shelf and bottom boundary layer as identified in previous studies along the central and northern California coast. With distance offshore, dissolved iron decreased more rapidly relative to nitrate in a transition zone 10-250 km offshore during spring and summer, resulting in relatively high ratios of nitrate: dissolved iron. Higher nitrate: dissolved iron ratios could be the result of utilization and scavenging in addition to an overall lower supply of iron relative to nitrate in the offshore transition zones. The low supply of iron leads to phytoplankton iron limitation and a depletion in silicic acid relative to nitrate in the coastal upwelling and transition zones of the sCCS.

Bundy, RM, Biller DV, Buck KN, Bruland KW, Barbeau KA.  2014.  Distinct pools of dissolved iron-binding ligands in the surface and benthic boundary layer of the California Current. Limnology and Oceanography. 59:769-787.   10.4319/lo.2014.59.3.0769   AbstractWebsite

Organic dissolved iron (dFe)-binding ligands were measured by competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) at multiple analytical windows (side reaction coefficient of salicylaldoxime, alpha(Fe(SA)2) = 30, 60, and 100) in surface and benthic boundary layer (BBL) samples along the central California coast during spring and summer. The weakest ligands were detected in the BBL at the lowest analytical window with average log K-FeL,Fe'(cond) = 10.2 +/- 0.4 in the summer and 10.8 +/- 0.2 in the spring. Between 3% and 18% of the dFe complexation in the BBL was accounted for by HS, which were measured separately in samples by ACSV and may indicate a source of dFe-binding ligands from San Francisco Bay. The strongest ligands were found in nearshore spring surface waters at the highest analytical window with average log K-FeL,Fe'(cond) = 11.9 +/- 0.3, and the concentrations of these ligands declined rapidly offshore. The ligand pools in the surface and BBL waters were distinct from each other based on principal components analysis, with variances in the BBL ligand pool explained by sample location, and variance in surface waters explained by water mass. The use of multiple analytical window analysis elucidated several distinct iron-binding ligand pools, each with unique distributions in the central California Current system.

Ohman, MD, Barbeau K, Franks PJS, Goericke R, Landry MR, Miller AJ.  2013.  Ecological transitions in a coastal upwelling ecosystem. Oceanography. 26:210-219. AbstractWebsite

The southern California Current Ecosystem (CCE) is a dynamic eastern boundary current ecosystem that is forced by ocean-atmosphere variability on interannual, multidecadal, and long-term secular time scales. Recent evidence suggests that apparent abrupt transitions in ecosystem conditions reflect linear tracking of the physical environment rather than oscillations between alternative preferred states. A space-for-time exchange is one approach that permits use of natural spatial variability in the CCE to develop a mechanistic understanding needed to project future temporal changes. The role of (sub)mesoscale frontal systems in altering rates of nutrient transport, primary and secondary production, export fluxes, and the rates of encounters between predators and prey is an issue central to this pelagic ecosystem and its future trajectory because the occurrence of such frontal features is increasing.

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.

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.

Dupont, CL, McCrow JP, Valas R, Moustafa A, Walworth N, Goodenough U, Roth R, Hogle SL, Bai J, Johnson ZI, Mann E, Palenik B, Barbeau KA, Craig Venter J, Allen AE.  2015.  Genomes and gene expression across light and productivity gradients in eastern subtropical Pacific microbial communities. ISME J. 9:1076-1092.: International Society for Microbial Ecology   10.1038/ismej.2014.198   Abstract

Transitions in community genomic features and biogeochemical processes were examined in surface and subsurface chlorophyll maximum (SCM) microbial communities across a trophic gradient from mesotrophic waters near San Diego, California to the oligotrophic Pacific. Transect end points contrasted in thermocline depth, rates of nitrogen and CO2 uptake, new production and SCM light intensity. Relative to surface waters, bacterial SCM communities displayed greater genetic diversity and enrichment in putative sulfur oxidizers, multiple actinomycetes, low-light-adapted Prochlorococcus and cell-associated viruses. Metagenomic coverage was not correlated with transcriptional activity for several key taxa within Bacteria. Low-light-adapted Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, and low abundance gamma-proteobacteria enriched in the>3.0-[mu]m size fraction contributed disproportionally to global transcription. The abundance of these groups also correlated with community functions, such as primary production or nitrate uptake. In contrast, many of the most abundant bacterioplankton, including SAR11, SAR86, SAR112 and high-light-adapted Prochlorococcus, exhibited low levels of transcriptional activity and were uncorrelated with rate processes. Eukaryotes such as Haptophytes and non-photosynthetic Aveolates were prevalent in surface samples while Mamielles and Pelagophytes dominated the SCM. Metatranscriptomes generated with ribosomal RNA-depleted mRNA (total mRNA) coupled to in vitro polyadenylation compared with polyA-enriched mRNA revealed a trade-off in detection eukaryotic organelle and eukaryotic nuclear origin transcripts, respectively. Gene expression profiles of SCM eukaryote populations, highly similar in sequence identity to the model pelagophyte Pelagomonas sp. CCMP1756, suggest that pelagophytes are responsible for a majority of nitrate assimilation within the SCM.

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.

Hopkinson, BM, Roe KL, Barbeau KA.  2008.  Heme uptake by Microscilla marina and evidence for heme uptake systems in the genomes of diverse marine bacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 74:6263-6270.   10.1128/aem.00964-08   AbstractWebsite

The ability to acquire diverse and abundant forms of iron would be expected to confer a survival advantage in the marine environment, where iron is scarce. Marine bacteria are known to use siderophores and inorganic iron, but their ability to use heme, an abundant intracellular iron form, has only been examined preliminarily. Microscilla marina, a cultured relative of a bacterial group frequently found on marine particulates, was used as a model organism to examine heme uptake. Searches of the genome revealed analogs to known heme transport proteins, and reverse transcription-quantitative PCR analysis of these genes showed that they were expressed and upregulated under iron stress and during growth on heme. M. marina was found to take up heme-bound iron and could grow on heme as a sole iron source, supporting the genetic evidence for heme transport. Similar putative heme transport components were identified in the genomes of diverse marine bacteria. These systems were found in the genomes of many bacteria thought to be particle associated but were lacking in known free-living organisms (e.g., Pelagibacter ubique and marine cyanobacteria). This distribution of transporters is consistent with the hydrophobic, light-sensitive nature of heme, suggesting that it is primarily available on phytoplankton or detritus or in nutrient-rich environments.

Hopkinson, BM, Barbeau KA.  2008.  Interactive influences of iron and light limitation on phytoplankton at subsurface chlorophyll maxima in the eastern North Pacific. Limnology and Oceanography. 53:1303-1318.   10.4319/lo.2008.53.4.1303   AbstractWebsite

The roles of iron and light as limiting and colimiting factors for phytoplankton growth in subsurface chlorophyll maxima (SCMs) were investigated in mesotrophic to oligotrophic waters of the Southern California Bight and the eastern tropical North Pacific using microcosm manipulation experiments. Phytoplankton responses indicative of iron-light colimitation were found at several SCMs underlying macronutrient-limited surface waters in the eastern Pacific. Iron additions led to a shift in the size and taxonomic structure of the phytoplankton community, where large diatoms dominated what was formerly a diverse community of relatively small phytoplankton. The strongest and most ubiquitous responses of diatoms to iron addition were found under elevated light conditions, indicating that iron availability may have the greatest potential to affect SCM phytoplankton communities when light levels increase rapidly, such as during eddy events or with strong internal waves. The results show that iron influences phytoplankton community structure at SCMs, which would have consequences for nutrient cycling and carbon export within the lower euphotic zone.

Pizeta, I, Sander SG, Hudson RJM, Omanovic D, Baars O, Barbeau KA, Buck KN, Bundy RM, Carrasco G, Croot PL, Garnier C, Gerringa LJA, Gledhill M, Hirose K, Kondo Y, Laglera LM, Nuester J, Rijkenberg MJA, Takeda S, Twining BS, Wells M.  2015.  Interpretation of complexometric titration data: An intercomparison of methods for estimating models of trace metal complexation by natural organic ligands. Marine Chemistry. 173:3-24.   10.1016/j.marchem.2015.03.006   AbstractWebsite

With the common goal of more accurately and consistently quantifying ambient concentrations of free metal ions and natural organic ligands in aquatic ecosystems, researchers from 15 laboratories that routinely analyze trace metal speciation participated in an intercomparison of statistical methods used to model their most common type of experimental dataset, the complexometric titration. All were asked to apply statistical techniques that they were familiar with to model synthetic titration data that are typical of those obtained by applying state-of-the-art electrochemical methods - anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV) and competitive ligand equilibration-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) - to the analysis of natural waters. Herein, we compare their estimates for parameters describing the natural ligands, examine the accuracy of inferred ambient free metal ion concentrations (]M-f]), and evaluate the influence of the various methods and assumptions used on these results. The ASV-type titrations were designed to test each participant's ability to correctly describe the natural ligands present in a sample when provided with data free of measurement error, i.e., random noise. For the three virtual samples containing just one natural ligand, all participants were able to correctly identify the number of ligand classes present and accurately estimate their parameters. For the four samples containing two or three ligand classes, a few participants detected too few or too many classes and consequently reported inaccurate 'measurements' of ambient [M-f]. Since the problematic results arose from human error rather than any specific method of analyzing the data, we recommend that analysts should make a practice of using one's parameter estimates to generate simulated (back-calculated) titration curves for comparison to the original data. The root-mean-squared relative error between the fitted observations and the simulated curves should be comparable to the expected precision of the analytical method and upon visual inspection the distribution of residuals should not be skewed. Modeling the synthetic, CLE-ACSV-type titration dataset, which comprises 5 titration curves generated at different analytical-windows or levels of competing ligand added to the virtual sample, proved to be more challenging due to the random measurement error that was incorporated. Comparison of the submitted results was complicated by the participants' differing interpretations of their task. Most adopted the provided 'true' instrumental sensitivity in modeling the CLE-ACSV curves, but several estimated sensitivities using internal calibration, exactly as is required for actual samples. Since most fitted sensitivities were biased low, systematic error in inferred ambient [M-f] and in estimated weak ligand (L-2) concentrations resulted. The main distinction between the mathematical approaches taken by participants lies in the functional form of the speciation model equations, with their implicit definition of independent and dependent or manipulated variables. In 'direct modeling', the dependent variable is the measured [M-f] (or I-p) and the total metal concentration ([M](T)) is considered independent In other, much more widely used methods of analyzing titration data - classical linearization, best known as van den Berg/Ruzic and isotherm fitting by nonlinear regression, best known as the langmuir or Gerringa methods - [M-f] is defined as independent and the dependent variable calculated from both [M](T) and [M-f]. Close inspection of the biases and variability in the estimates of ligand parameters and in predictions of ambient [M-f] revealed that the best results were obtained by the direct approach. Linear regression of transformed data yielded the largest bias and greatest variability, while non-linear isotherm fitting generated results with mean bias comparable to direct modeling, but also with greater variability. Participants that performed a unified analysis of ACSV titration curves at multiple detection windows for a sample improved their results regardless of the basic mathematical approach taken. Overall, the three most accurate sets of results were obtained using direct modeling of the unified multiwindow dataset, while the single most accurate set of results also included simultaneous calibration. We therefore recommend that where sample volume and time permit, titration experiments for all natural water samples be designed to include two or more detection windows, especially for coastal and estuarine waters. It is vital that more practical experimental designs for multi-window titrations be developed. Finally, while all mathematical approaches proved to be adequate for some datasets, matrix-based equilibrium models proved to be most naturally suited for the most challenging cases encountered in this work, i.e., experiments where the added ligand in ACSV became titrated. The ProMCC program (Omanovic et al., this issue) as well as the Excel Add-in based KINETEQL Multiwindow Solver spreadsheet (Hudson, 2014) have this capability and have been made available for public use as a result of this intercomparison exercise. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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.

Hopkinson, BM, Barbeau KA.  2012.  Iron transporters in marine prokaryotic genomes and metagenomes. Environmental Microbiology. 14:114-128.   10.1111/j.1462-2920.2011.02539.x   AbstractWebsite

In the pelagic environment, iron is a scarce but essential micronutrient. The iron acquisition capabilities of selected marine bacteria have been investigated, but the recent proliferation of marine prokaryotic genomes and metagenomes offers a more comprehensive picture of microbial iron uptake pathways in the ocean. Searching these data sets, we were able to identify uptake mechanisms for Fe3+, Fe2+ and iron chelates (e.g. siderophore and haem iron complexes). Transport of iron chelates is accomplished by TonB-dependent transporters (TBDTs). After clustering the TBDTs from marine prokaryotic genomes, we identified TBDT clusters for the transport of hydroxamate and catecholate siderophore iron complexes and haem using gene neighbourhood analysis and co-clustering of TBDTs of known function. The genomes also contained two classes of siderophore biosynthesis genes: NRPS (non-ribosomal peptide synthase) genes and NIS (NRPS Independent Siderophore) genes. The most common iron transporters, in both the genomes and metagenomes, were Fe3+ ABC transporters. Iron uptake-related TBDTs and siderophore biosynthesis genes were less common in pelagic marine metagenomes relative to the genomic data set, in part because Pelagibacter ubique and Prochlorococcus species, which almost entirely lacked these Fe uptake systems, dominate the metagenomes. Our results are largely consistent with current knowledge of iron speciation in the ocean, but suggest that in certain niches the ability to acquire siderophores and/or haem iron chelates is beneficial.

Buck, KN, Selph KE, Barbeau KA.  2010.  Iron-binding ligand production and copper speciation in an incubation experiment of Antarctic Peninsula shelf waters from the Bransfield Strait, Southern Ocean. Marine Chemistry. 122:148-159.   10.1016/j.marchem.2010.06.002   AbstractWebsite

The evolution of dissolved iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) speciation was followed through a simulated spring bloom event in a 15-day incubation experiment of natural seawater collected during austral winter from high macronutrient high Fe waters of Bransfield Strait in the Southern Ocean. The incubation experiment included unamended bottles as well as Fe additions using the stable isotope of Fe, Fe-57. as inorganic ((FeCl3)-Fe-57) and organic (Fe-57-aerobactin, Fe-57-desferrioxamine B) amendments. Exposure to summer light conditions resulted in substantial growth for all treatments, mimicking the initiation of a spring bloom. The addition of Fe resulted in a 30% increase in phytoplankton biomass over unamended controls by day 15, indicating that the unamended waters became Fe limited despite initially elevated dissolved Fe concentrations. Dissolved Cu and Cu speciation remained largely unchanged for all treatments of the incubation, with Cu speciation dominated by exceedingly strong Cu-binding ligands (log K-CuL1.Cu2+(Cond) similar to 16) and low resultant Cu2+ concentrations (10(-16.3 +/- 0.3) mol L-1). In only the unamended light bottles, strong Fe-binding ligands were produced over the course of the experiment. The observed production of strong Fe-binding ligands in the control bottles that became Fe-limited supports the important role of biologically produced siderophore-type natural ligands in the marine Fe cycle. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bundy, RM, Abdulla HAN, Hatcher PG, Biller DV, Buck KN, Barbeau KA.  2015.  Iron-binding ligands and humic substances in the San Francisco Bay estuary and estuarine-influenced shelf regions of coastal California. Marine Chemistry. 173:183-194.   10.1016/j.marchem.2014.11.005   AbstractWebsite

Dissolved iron (dFe) and organic dFe-binding ligands were determined in San Francisco Bay, California by competitive ligand exchange adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) along a salinity gradient from the freshwater endmember of the Sacramento River (salinity <2) to the mouth of the estuary (salinity >26). A range of dFe-binding ligand classes was simultaneously determined using multiple analytical window analysis, involving titrations with multiple concentrations of the added ligand,salicylaldoxime. The highest dFe and ligand concentrations were determined in the low salinity end of the estuary, with dFe equal to 131.5 nmol L-1 and strong ligand (log K-Fel, Fe'(cond) >= 12.0) concentrations equal to 139.5 nmol L-1. The weakest ligands (log K-Fel, Fe'(cond) < 10.0) were always in excess of dFe in low salinity waters, but were rapidly flocculated within the estuary and were not detected at salinities greater than 7. The strongest ligands (log K-Fel, Fe'(cond) > 11.0) were tightly coupled to dFe throughout the estuary, with average excess ligand concentrations ([L]-[dFe]) equal to 0.5 nmol L-1. Humic-like substances analyzed via both CLE-ACSV and proton nuclear magnetic resonance in several samples were found to be a significant portion of the dFe-binding ligand pool in San Francisco Bay, with concentrations ranging from 559.5 mu g L-1 to 67.5 mu g L-1 in the lowest and highest salinity samples, respectively. DFe-binding ligands and humic-like substances were also found in benthic boundary layer samples taken from the shelf near the mouths of San Francisco Bay and Eel River, suggesting estuaries are an important source of dFe-binding ligands to California coastal shelf waters. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bundy, RM, Jiang M, Carter M, Barbeau KA.  2016.  Iron-binding ligands in the southern California Current System: Mechanistic studies. Frontiers in Marine Science. 3:27.   10.3389/fmars.2016.00027   Abstract

The distributions of dissolved iron and organic iron-binding ligands were examined in water column profiles and deckboard incubation experiments in the southern California Current System (sCCS) along a transition from coastal to semi-oligotrophic waters. Analysis of the iron-binding ligand pool by competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-ACSV) using multiple analytical windows (MAWs) revealed three classes of iron-binding ligands present throughout the water column (L1-L3), whose distributions closely matched those of dissolved iron and nitrate. Despite significant biogeochemical gradients, ligand profiles were similar between stations, with surface minima in strong ligands (L1 and L2), and relatively constant concentrations of weaker ligands (L3) down to 500 m. A phytoplankton grow-out incubation, initiated from an iron-limited water mass, showed dynamic temporal cycling of iron-binding ligands. A biological iron model was able to capture the patterns of the strong ligands in the grow-out incubation relatively well with only the microbial community as a biological source. An experiment focused on remineralization of particulate organic matter showed production of both strong and weak iron-binding ligands by the heterotrophic community, supporting a mechanism for in-situ production of both strong and weak iron-binding ligands in the subsurface water column. Photochemical experiments showed a variable influence of sunlight on the degradation of natural iron-binding ligands, providing some evidence to explain differences in surface ligand concentrations between stations. Patterns in ligand distributions between profiles and in the incubation experiments were primarily related to macronutrient concentrations, suggesting microbial remineralization processes might dominate on longer time-scales over short-term changes associated with photochemistry or phytoplankton growth.

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.