University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Manganese and iron distributions off central California influenced by upwelling and shelf width

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 13:15 authored by Zanna ChaseZanna Chase, Johnson, KS, Elrod, VA, Plant, JN, Fitzwater, SE, Pickell, L, Sakamoto, CM

In July 2002, a combination of underway mapping and discrete profiles revealed significant along-shore variability in the concentrations of manganese and iron in the vicinity of Monterey Bay, California. Both metals had lower concentrations in surface waters south of Monterey Bay, where the shelf is about 2.5 km wide, than north of Monterey Bay, where the shelf is about 10 km wide. During non-upwelling conditions over the northern broad shelf, dissolvable iron concentrations measured underway in surface waters reached 3.5 nmol L-1 and dissolved manganese reached 25 nmol L-1. In contrast, during nonupwelling conditions over the southern narrow shelf, dissolvable iron concentrations in surface waters were less than 1 nmol L-1 and dissolved manganese concentrations were less than 5 nmol L-1. A pair of vertical profiles at 1000 m water depth collected during an upwelling event showed dissolved manganese concentrations of 10 decreasing to 2 nmol L-1, and dissolvable iron concentrations of 12-20 nmol L-1 in the upper 100 m in the north, compared to 3.5-2 nmol L-1 Mn and ~0.6 nmol L-1 Fe in the upper 100 m in the south, suggesting the effect of shelf width influences the chemistry of waters beyond the shelf.

These observations are consistent with current understanding of the mechanism of iron supply to coastal upwelling systems: Iron from shelf sediments, predominantly associated with particles greater than 20 Am, is brought to the surface during upwelling conditions. We hypothesize that manganese oxides are brought to the surface with upwelling and are then reduced to dissolved manganese, perhaps by photoreduction, following a lag after upwelling.

Greater phytoplankton biomass, primary productivity, and nutrient drawdown were observed over the broad shelf, consistent with the greater supply of iron. Incubation experiments conducted 20 km offshore in both regions, during a period of wind relaxation, confirm the potential of these sites to become limited by iron. There was no additional growth response when copper, manganese or cobalt was added in addition to iron. The growth response of surface water incubated with bottom sediment (4 nmol L-1 dissolvable Fe) was slightly greater than in control incubations, but less than in the presence of 4 nmol L-1 dissolved iron. This may indicate that dissolvable iron is not as bioavailable as dissolved iron, although the influence of additional inhibitory elements in the sediment cannot be ruled out.


Publication title

Marine Chemistry: An International Journal for Studies of All Chemical Aspects of The Marine Environment








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights statement

Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania


    Ref. manager