University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Developing Standards for Dissolved Iron in Seawater

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-22, 05:13 authored by Johnson, KS, Boyle, E, Bruland, K, Coale, K, Measures, C, Moffett, J, Aguilar-Islas, A, Barbeau, K, Bergquist, B, Andrew BowieAndrew Bowie, Buck, K, Cai, Y, Zanna ChaseZanna Chase, Cullen, J, Doi, T, Elrod, V, Fitzwater, S, Gordon, M, King, A, Laan, P, Laglera-Baquer, L, Landing, W, Lohan, M, Mendez, J, Milne, A, Obata, H, Ossiander, L, Plant, J, Sarthou, G, Sedwick, P, Smith, GJ, Sohst, B, Tanner, S, Van Den Berg, S, Wu, J
In nearly a dozen open- ocean fertilization experiments conducted by more than 100 researchers from nearly 20 countries, adding iron at the sea surface has led to distinct increases in photosynthesis rates and biomass. These experiments confirmed the hypothesis proposed by the late John Martin [Martin, 1990] that dissolved iron concentration is a key variable that controls phytoplankton processes in ocean surface waters. However, the measurement of dissolved iron concentration in seawater remains a difficult task [Bruland and Rue, 2001] with significant interlaboratory differences apparent at times. The availability of a seawater reference solution with well- known dissolved iron (Fe) concentrations similar to open- ocean values, which could be used for the calibration of equipment or other tasks, would greatly alleviate these problems [National Research Council (NRC), 2002]. The Sampling and Analysis of Fe (SAFe) cruise was staged from Honolulu, Hawaii, to San Diego, Calif., between 15 October and 8 November 2004 to collect data and samples that were later used to provide this reference material. Here we provide a brief report on the cruise results, which have produced a tenfold improvement in the variability of iron measurements, and announce the availability of the SAFe dissolved Fe in seawater standards.


Publication title

Eos: Transactions, American Geophysical Union




11, 13 March






Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


American Geophysical Union

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania