Iron budgets for three distinct biogeochemical sites around the Kerguelen archipelago (Southern Ocean) during the natural fertilisation experiment KEOPS-2

Iron availability in the Southern Ocean controls phytoplankton growth, community composition and the uptake of atmospheric CO2 by the biological pump. The KEOPS-2 experiment took place around the Kerguelen plateau in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean, a region naturally fertilised with iron at the scale of hundreds to thousands of square kilometres, producing a mosaic of spring blooms which showed distinct biological and biogeochemical responses to fertilisation. This paper presents biogeochemical iron budgets (incorporating vertical and lateral supply, internal cycling, and sinks) for three contrasting sites: an upstream high-nutrient low-chlorophyll reference, over the plateau, and in the o�shore plume east of Kerguelen Island. These budgets show that distinct regional environments driven by complex circulation and transport pathways are responsible for di�erences in the mode and strength of iron supply, with vertical supply dominant on the plateau and lateral supply dominant in the plume. Iron supply from “new” sources to surface waters of the plume was double that above the plateau and 20 times greater than at the reference site, whilst iron demand (measured by cellular uptake) in the plume was similar to the plateau but 40 times greater than the reference. “Recycled” iron supply by bacterial regeneration and zooplankton grazing was a relative minor component at all sites (< 8% of “new” supply), in contrast to earlier findings from other biogeochemical iron budgets in the Southern Ocean. Over the plateau, a particulate iron dissolution term of 2.5% was invoked to balance the budget; this approximately doubled the standing stock of dissolved iron in the mixed layer. The exchange of iron between dissolved, biogenic and lithogenic particulate pools was highly dynamic in time and space, resulting in a decoupling of iron supply and carbon export and, importantly, controlling the effi�ciency of fertilisation.


Publication status:
Authors: Bowie, A. R., van der Merwe, P., Quéroué, F., Trull, T., Fourquez, M., Planchon, F., Sarthou, G., Chever, F., Townsend, A. T., Obernosterer, I., Sallee, Jean-Baptiste, Blain, S.

On this site: Jean-Baptiste Sallee
29 July, 2015
Biogeosciences / 12
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