Detrital input sustains diatom production off a glaciated Arctic coast

In the Arctic and subarctic oceans, the relatively low supply of silicon (compared to other nutrients) can make it limiting for the growth of diatoms, a fundamental building block of the oceanic food web. Glaciers release large quantities of dissolved silicon and dissolvable solid amorphous silica phases into high-latitude estuaries (fjords), but the role of these glacially-derived silica phases in sustaining diatom growth in the coastal and open-water sectors remains unknown. Here we show how stable and radiogenic silicon isotopes can be used together to address this question, using southwest Greenland as a case study. This study finds enhanced levels of detrital (i.e., mineral) amorphous silica, likely glacially-sourced, sustaining a large portion of diatom growth observed off the coast, revealing how the phytoplankton community can function during high-meltwater periods.


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Authors: Ng, Hong Chin, Hendry, Katharine R. ORCIDORCID record for Katharine R. Hendry, Ward, Rachael, Woodward, E.M.S., Leng, Melanie J. ORCIDORCID record for Melanie J. Leng, Pickering, Rebecca A., Krause, Jeffrey W.

On this site: Kate Hendry
28 June, 2024
Geophysical Research Letters / 51
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