Manganese co-limitation of phytoplankton growth and major nutrient drawdown in the Southern Ocean

Browning, Thomas J.; Achterberg, Eric P.; Engel, Anja; Mawji, Edward. 2021 Manganese co-limitation of phytoplankton growth and major nutrient drawdown in the Southern Ocean. Nature Communications, 12 (1), 884.

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Residual macronutrients in the surface Southern Ocean result from restricted biological utilization, caused by low wintertime irradiance, cold temperatures, and insufficient micronutrients. Variability in utilization alters oceanic CO2 sequestration at glacial-interglacial timescales. The role for insufficient iron has been examined in detail, but manganese also has an essential function in photosynthesis and dissolved concentrations in the Southern Ocean can be strongly depleted. However, clear evidence for or against manganese limitation in this system is lacking. Here we present results from ten experiments distributed across Drake Passage. We found manganese (co-)limited phytoplankton growth and macronutrient consumption in central Drake Passage, whilst iron limitation was widespread nearer the South American and Antarctic continental shelves. Spatial patterns were reconciled with the different rates and timescales for removal of each element from seawater. Our results suggest an important role for manganese in modelling Southern Ocean productivity and understanding major nutrient drawdown in glacial periods.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date made live: 01 Mar 2021 13:30 +0 (UTC)

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