Iron distributions in the equatorial Pacific: Implications for new production

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Gordon, R. M., Coale, K. H., & Johnson, K. S. (1997). Iron distributions in the equatorial Pacific: Implications for new production. Limnology and Oceanography, 42(3), 419-431.
TitleIron distributions in the equatorial Pacific: Implications for new production
AuthorsM. Gordon, H. Coale, S. Johnson
AbstractSeveral recent studies have shown that phytoplankton growth rate and production at 0°, 140°W is physiologically limited by iron. Therefore, changes in iron supply to the euphotic zone will result in variations in phytoplankton growth. We show that the flux of iron to this region is dominated by upwelling of the iron-rich Equatorial Undercurrent waters. Variations in the depth and strength of upwelling and changes in iron concentrations at the base of the euphotic zone will account for variations in primary and new production in this region. We determined dissolved and particulate iron profiles for the upper water column of the eastern equatorial Pacific including a vertical section from 9°N to 3°S along 140°W. One of the more prominent features of the section was a peak in dissolved and particulate iron associated with the Equatorial Undercurrent. The possible lithogenic origin of this iron is substantiated by the vertical section of particulate aluminum and manganese, which is consistent with a shallow hydrothermal source in the western equatorial Pacific. A simple one-dimensional model was used to calculate iron fluxes into the euphotic zone at the equator. Upwelling rates and dissolved iron concentrations were coupled to estimate the upwelling iron flux at 120 m (0.1% light level). Diffusive and atmospheric inputs of iron were also considered but were less significant than the upwelling flux. Iron-based potential new production was estimated to be lo-82 mmol C rnd2 d-l with C : Fe ratios of 100,000- 500,000: 1. In a similar manner, nitrate-based potential new production was 99-106 mmol C m-2 d-l. This demonstrates that iron supply limits new production to only 9-83% of the nitrate-based potential.
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Start page419
End page431