Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
14 Mar 2007
14 Mar 2007

Sources and transport of dissolved iron and manganese along the continental margin of the Bay of Biscay

A. Laës, S. Blain, P. Laan, S. J. Ussher, E. P. Achterberg, P. Tréguer, and H. J. W. de Baar

Abstract. Dissolved iron (DFe; <0.2 µm) and dissolved manganese (DMn; <0.2 µm) concentrations were determined in the water column of the Bay of Biscay (eastern North Atlantic Ocean) in March 2002. The samples were collected along a transect traversing from the European continental shelf over the continental slope. The highest DFe and DMn concentrations (2.39 nM and 6.10 nM, respectively) were observed in the bottom waters on the shelf at stations closest to the coast. The release of trace metal from resuspended particles and the diffusion from pore waters were probably at the origin of elevated DFe and DMn concentrations in the Bottom Boundary Layer (BBL). In the slope region, the highest total dissolvable iron (TDFe), DFe and DMn values (24.6 nM, 1.58 nM and 2.12 nM, respectively) were observed close to the bottom at depth of ca.~600–700 m. Internal wave activity and slope circulation are thought to be at the origin of this phenomenon. These processes were also very likely the cause of elevated concentrations (DFe: 1.27 nM, DMn: 2.34 nM) measured in surface waters of stations located in the same area. At stations off the continental slope, the vertical distribution of both metals were typical of open ocean conditions, indicating that inputs from the continental margin did not impact the metal distributions in the offshore waters.

Final-revised paper