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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans








We report water column dissolved iron (dFe) and particulate iron (pFe) concentrations from 50 stations sampled across the Ross Sea during austral summer (January-February) of 2012. Concentrations of dFe and pFe were measured in each of the major Ross Sea water masses, including the Ice Shelf Water and off-shelf Circumpolar Deep Water. Despite significant lateral variations in hydrography, macronutrient depletion, and primary productivity across several different regions on the continental shelf, dFe concentrations were consistently low (<0.1 nM) in surface waters, with only a handful of stations showing elevated concentrations (0.20-0.45 nM) in areas of melting sea ice and near the Franklin Island platform. Across the study region, pFe associated with suspended biogenic material approximately doubled the inventory of bioavailable iron in surface waters. Our data reveal that the majority of the summertime iron inventory in the Ross Sea resides in dense shelf waters, with highest concentrations within 50 m of the seafloor. Higher dFe concentrations near the seafloor are accompanied by an increased contribution to pFe from authigenic and/or scavenged iron. Particulate manganese is also influenced by sediment resuspension near the seafloor but, unlike pFe, is increasingly associated with authigenic material higher in the water column. Together, these results suggest that following depletion of the dFe derived from wintertime convective mixing and sea ice melt, recycling of pFe in the upper water column plays an important role in sustaining the summertime phytoplankton bloom in the Ross Sea polynya.

Original Publication Citation

Marsay, C. M., Barrett, P. M., McGillicuddy, D. J., Jr., & Sedwick, P. N. (2017). Distributions, sources, and transformations of dissolved and particulate iron on the Ross Sea continental shelf during summer. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122(8), 6371-6393. doi:10.1002/2017JC013068

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