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Phytoplankton processes. Part 2: rates of primary production and factors controlling algal growth during the Southern Ocean Iron RElease Experiment (SOIREE)
The Southern Ocean Iron RElease Experiment (SOIREE) fertilised 200 km2 of polar waters (mixed-layer depth, 65 m) south of Australia in February 1999. During the 13-d SOIREE, iron enrichment stimulated primary production, algal growth and biogenic silica production rates. A floristic shift from small to large cells resulted in a greater contribution to community production by diatoms, which contributed >60% to community production towards the end of SOIREE. Column-integrated rates of primary production increased by more than 10-fold, and community production rates (normalised to chlorophyll) had doubled by day 4, but then declined after day 6 to initial rates. Iron enrichment increased the growth rates of the algal community from 0.02 to 0.15 d−1 (based on changes in in-situ chlorophyll concentrations), from 0.02 to 0.2 d−1 (based on algal carbon), and more than doubled initial rates (based on 14C) to 0.2 d−1 during SOIREE. However, these iron-elevated rates were less than the maximum rates (0.69 d−1) predicted for waters at 2.5°C. Community biogenic silica production rates increased by 6-fold, i.e. to a lesser extent than primary production rates, resulting in a 2-fold reduction in the silicic-acid : carbon uptake ratio. Shipboard perturbation experiments indicated that iron, rather than both iron and light, limited algal growth in these waters. However, a significant increase in light attenuation in situ due to algal self-shading, suggested that light limitation of algal growth might become significant after day 13 at this locale. Limitation of algal growth by both iron (and silicic acid and/or zinc) within iron-fertilised waters after day 8 of SOIREE was not evident from the results of a shipboard experiment. A simple mathematical model of particulate organic carbon (POC) potential export during SOIREE predicted large increases in export, due to both elevated production rates and a floristic shift to large cells. However, no significant increase in POC export was observed during SOIREE.
Publication titleDeep-Sea Research Part 2
Department/SchoolInstitute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
PublisherPergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd
Place of publicationThe Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Ox5 1Gb
Rights statementCopyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.