Iodine containing species have been measured in the particle phase (PM2.5) and the gas phase during a ship campaign between January and February 2007 in the South Atlantic marine boundary layer (MBL). Methyl iodide (CH3I) in the gas phase and soluble iodine species, i.e. iodide, iodate and an unidentified organic iodine species (UOI), in PM2.5 were measured. Temporal variations of gaseous and particulate iodine species were investigated. The exposure of the sampled air masses to phytoplankton along the back-trajectories was studied using a lagrangian transport model and satellite observations of oceanic chlorophyll-a concentration. Significant correlations were found between the concentrations of iodine species and the average chlorophyll exposure along back-trajectories, indicating an emission from phytoplankton in the open ocean. Good correlations were found when the ship approached or crossed the active biological region in the West-southern Atlantic. These results strongly suggest a connection between iodine species and the phytoplankton in the ocean. This study was extended to examine the relation of the iodine measurements to satellite derived phytoplankton distributions. We show that specific phytoplankton species may have impact on different iodine containing species.