Distribution and speciation of iron in the northeast subarctic Pacific




Chong, Marina

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The marine chemistry of dissolved iron (Fe) was examined in two studies conducted off the coast of British Columbia in the northeast Pacific. Dissolved (<0.4 µm) Fe was measured along inshore-offshore transects across the continental shelf in Queen Charlotte Sound. A benthic layer of high Fe, enriched due to exchange with shelf sediments, was found to extend across the shelf-slope break into offshore waters. Advection of these shelf waters may be a significant source of Fe to the nearby Fe-poor region of the northeast Pacific. In this Fe-limited gyre, little is known about the chemical speciation and bioavailability of Fe. The fractionation of dissolved Fe into inorganic and organically bound species along Line P was established by competitive ligand equilibration coupled with cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-CSV), and the results confirm the presence of biogenic Fe-binding ligands at concentrations in excess of dissolved Fe with conditional stability constants between 8.3 x 1010 and 5.6 x 1012 for the Fe-ligand complexes. The temporal and spatial variations observed are consistent with either a biological source of the ligands or an atmospheric source where greatest deposition occurs during the summer when stratification of the upper water column is most pronounced.



Seawater, iron content, British Columbia, Queen Charlotte Sound, Chemical oceanography, Pacific Ocean