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Sustained upwelling of subsurface iron supplies seasonally persistent phytoplankton blooms around the Southern Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Ocean


Schallenberg, C and Bestley, S and Klocker, A and Trull, TW and Davies, DM and Gault-Ringold, M and Eriksen, R and Roden, NP and Sander, SG and Sumner, M and Townsend, AT and van der Merwe, P and Westwood, K and Wuttig, K and Bowie, A, Sustained upwelling of subsurface iron supplies seasonally persistent phytoplankton blooms around the Southern Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123, (8) pp. 5986-6003. ISSN 2169-9275 (2018) [Refereed Article]


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©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1029/2018JC013932


Although the supply of iron generally limits phytoplankton productivity in the Southern Ocean, substantial seasonal blooms are observed over and downstream of the Kerguelen plateau in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean. Surprisingly, of the oceanic blooms, those associated with the deeper southern plateau last much longer (∼3 months) than the northern bloom (∼1‐month downstream of northern plateau). In this study, iron supply mechanisms around the southern plateau were investigated, obtaining profiles of dissolved iron (<0.2 μm, dFe) to 2,000‐m deep at 25 stations during austral summer 2016. The dFe concentrations in surface waters (≤100‐m depth) ranged from below the detection limit (DL, median of 0.026 nmol/kg) to 0.34 nmol/kg near the Antarctic shelf, with almost half the data points below detection. These low and—with few exceptions—largely spatially invariant concentrations, presumably driven by seasonal drawdown of this essential micronutrient by phytoplankton, could not explain observed patterns in chlorophyll a. In contrast, dFe concentrations (0.05–1.27 nmol/kg) in subsurface waters (100–800 m) showed strong spatial variations that can explain bloom patterns around the southern Kerguelen plateau when considered in the context of frontal locations and associated frontal processes, including upwelling, that may increase the upward supply of dFe in the region. This sustained vertical dFe supply distinguishes the southern blooms from the bloom downstream of the northern Kerguelen plateau and explains their persistence through the season.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:upwelling, phytoplankton bloom, Southern Ocean, iron
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Understanding climate change not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Schallenberg, C (Dr Christina Schallenberg)
UTAS Author:Bestley, S (Dr Sophie Bestley)
UTAS Author:Klocker, A (Dr Andreas Klocker)
UTAS Author:Trull, TW (Professor Thomas Trull)
UTAS Author:Davies, DM (Ms Diana Davies)
UTAS Author:Gault-Ringold, M (Dr Melanie East)
UTAS Author:Roden, NP (Mr Nick Roden)
UTAS Author:Townsend, AT (Associate Professor Ashley Townsend)
UTAS Author:van der Merwe, P (Dr Pier van der Merwe)
UTAS Author:Westwood, K (Dr Karen Westwood)
UTAS Author:Wuttig, K (Dr Kathrin Wuttig)
UTAS Author:Bowie, A (Professor Andrew Bowie)
ID Code:128431
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2018-09-21
Last Modified:2018-12-13
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