NEW INSIGHTS INTO: THE ORGANIC COMPLEXATION OF BIOACTIVE TRACE METALS IN THE GLOBAL OCEAN FROM THE GEOTRACES ERA

Hannah Whitby*, Jiwoon Park, Yeala Shaked, Rene M. Boiteau, Kristen N. Buck, Randelle M. Bundy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The GEOTRACES program has greatly expanded measurements of dissolved trace metal concentrations across ocean basins, but to understand the behavior and cycling of metals and their impacts on primary productivity, we must understand the chemical forms in which they are present in the environment. Organic ligands play a central role in the speciation and cycling of trace metals in the marine environment, controlling their chemical reactivity and bioavailability. Here, we present an overview of the contributions the GEOTRACES program has made to understanding ocean metal speciation through advancing our knowledge of the distribution, sources, and sinks of metal-binding organic ligands across the global ocean, particularly for iron. Detailed assessments and intercalibration of the speciation methods most commonly applied have allowed integration of metal-binding ligand measurements across datasets. Work to characterize specific ligand groups within the wider pool of dissolved organic matter, along with their sources and sinks, is starting to unravel the role of metal-binding organic ligands in global biogeochemical cycles. Recent advances in complementary analytical techniques using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry present a molecular picture of metal speciation and bioavailability—and also pose new questions. Moving forward, we need to address knowledge gaps in our understanding of how metal speciation and complexation relates to bioavailability in order to recognize the impacts of ocean metal distributions and cycling on marine productivity and the global carbon cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-155
Number of pages14
JournalOceanography
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2024

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