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Southern Ocean phytoplankton stimulated by wildfire emissions and sustained by iron recycling

Weis, J, Schallenberg, C ORCID: 0000-0002-3073-7500, Chase, Z ORCID: 0000-0001-5060-779X, Bowie, AR ORCID: 0000-0002-5144-7799, Wojtasiewicz, B, Perron, MMG ORCID: 0000-0001-5424-7138, Mallet, MD ORCID: 0000-0003-2749-8833 and Strutton, PG ORCID: 0000-0002-2395-9471 2022 , 'Southern Ocean phytoplankton stimulated by wildfire emissions and sustained by iron recycling' , Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 49, no. 11 , pp. 1-11 , doi:

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Large ash plumes emitted by the 2019–2020 Australian wildfires were associated with a widespread phytoplankton bloom in the iron-limited Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. In this study, we used satellite observations and aerosol reanalysis products to study the regional phytoplankton community response to wildfire emissions. The bloom was stimulated by pyrogenic iron fertilization and coincided with elevated cellular pigment concentrations, increased photochemical efficiency, and apparent community structural shifts. Physiological anomalies were consistent with previously observed phytoplankton responses to iron stress relief and persisted for up to 9 months. Supported by a regional iron budget, we conclude that the bloom was sustained by iron recycling and episodic inputs of pyrogenic and dust-borne mineral iron. The continuous regeneration of iron was likely facilitated by the bloom's large size, mitigating edge dilution effects, as well as enhanced bioavailability of pyrogenic and mineral iron due to atmospheric and chemical processing during long-range transport.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Weis, J and Schallenberg, C and Chase, Z and Bowie, AR and Wojtasiewicz, B and Perron, MMG and Mallet, MD and Strutton, PG
Keywords: Southern Ocean, phytoplankton, wildfire emissions, iron recycling
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: Amer Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2022. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, ( which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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