Developing standards for dissolved iron in seawater



In nearly a dozen open-ocean fertilization experiments conducted by more than 100 researchers from nearly 20 countries, adding iron at the sea surface has led to distinct increases in photosynthesis rates and biomass. These experiments confirmed the hypothesis proposed by the late John Martin [Martin, 1990] that dissolved iron concentration is a key variable that controls phytoplankton processes in ocean surface waters However, the measurement of dissolved iron concentration in seawater remains a difficult task [Bruland and Rue, 2001] with significant interlaboratory differences apparent at times. The availability of a seawater reference solution with well-known dissolved iron (Fe) concentrations similar to open-ocean values, which could be used for the calibration of equipment or other tasks, would greatly alleviate these problems [National Research Council (NRC), 2002[.