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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Nov 2020

18 Nov 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Sources of Fe-binding organic ligands in surface waters of the western Antarctic Peninsula

Indah Ardiningsih1, Kyyas Seyitmuhammedov2, Sylvia G. Sander3, Claudine H. Stirling2, Gert-Jan Reichart1,4, Kevin R. Arrigo5, Loes J. A. Gerringa1, and Rob Middag1,2 Indah Ardiningsih et al.
  • 1Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Department of Ocean Systems, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Centre for Trace Element Analysis and Chemistry Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 3International Atomic Energy Agency, 4a Quai Antoine 1er, 98000, Principality of Monaco, Monaco
  • 4Earth and Geoscience Department, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 5Department of Earth System Science, Stanford University, USA

Abstract. Organic ligands are a key factor determining the availability of dissolved iron (DFe) in the high nutrient low chlorophyll (HNLC) areas of the Southern Ocean. In this study, organic speciation of Fe is investigated along a natural gradient of the western Antarctic Peninsula, from an ice covered shelf to the open ocean. An electrochemical approach, competitive ligand exchange – adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry (CLE-AdCSV) was applied. Our results indicated that organic ligands in surface water on the shelf are associated with ice-algal exudates, possibly combined with melting of sea-ice. Organic ligands in deeper shelf water are supplied via resuspension of slope or shelf sediments. Further offshore, organic ligands are most likely related to the development of phytoplankton blooms in open ocean waters. On the shelf, total ligand concentrations ([Lt]) were between 1.2 nM eq. Fe and 6.4 nM eq. Fe. The organic ligands offshore ranged between 1.0 and 3.0 nM eq. Fe. The southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (SB ACC) separated the organic ligands on the shelf from bloom-associated ligands offshore. Overall, organic ligand concentrations always exceeded DFe concentration (excess ligand concentration, [L'] = 0.8–5.0 nM eq. Fe). The [L'] made up to 80 % of [Lt], suggesting that any additional Fe input can be stabilized in the dissolved form via organic complexation. The denser modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW) on the shelf showed the highest complexation capacity of Fe (αFe'L; the product of [L'] and conditional binding strength of ligands, KFe'Lcond). Since Fe is also supplied by shelf sediments and glacial discharge, the high complexation capacity over the shelf can keep Fe dissolved and available for local primary productivity later in the season, upon sea ice melting.

Indah Ardiningsih et al.

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Indah Ardiningsih et al.

Indah Ardiningsih et al.


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Short summary
Organic Fe speciation is investigated along a natural gradient of the western Antarctic Peninsula, from an ice-covered shelf to the open ocean. The two major fronts in the region affect the distribution of ligands. The excess ligands not bound to DFe comprised up to 80 % of the total ligand concentrations, implying the potential to solubilize additional Fe input. The ligands on the shelf can increase the DFe residence time and fuel local primary production upon ice melt.
Organic Fe speciation is investigated along a natural gradient of the western Antarctic...