Regulation of algal blooms in Antarctic shelf waters by the release of iron from melting sea ice
Sedwick, PN and DiTullio, GR, Regulation of algal blooms in Antarctic shelf waters by the release of iron from melting sea ice, Geophysical Research Letters, 24, (20) pp. 2515-2518. ISSN 0094-8276 (1997) [Refereed Article]
During summer 1995-96, we measured iron in the water column and conducted iron-enrichment bottle-incubation experiments at a station in the central Ross Sea (76°30′S, 170°40′W), first, in the presence of melting sea ice, and 17 days later, in ice-free conditions. We observed a striking temporal change in mixed-layer dissolved iron concentrations at this station, from 0.72-2.3 nM with sea ice present, to 0.16-0.17 nM in ice-free conditions. These changes were accompanied by a significant drawdown in macronutrients and an approximate doubling of algal (diatom) biomass. Our incubation experiments suggest that conditions were ironreplete in the presence of sea ice, and iron-deficient in the absence of sea ice. We surmise that bioavailable iron was released into seawater from the melting sea ice, stimulating phytoplankton production and the biological removal of dissolved iron from the mixed layer, until iron-limited conditions developed. These observations suggest that the episodic release of bioavailable iron from melting sea ice is an important factor regulating phytoplankton production, particularly ice-edge blooms, in seasonally ice-covered Antarctic waters. Copyright 1997 by the American Geophysical Union.