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Trace Metals & Phytoplankton. Gert Vlaming. 24-01-2003. Contents. Introduction Trace metals Importance of phytoplankton Conclusion. Gaia theory. Environment. Life. Trace metals. Fe 3+ Mn 2+ Co 2+ Cu 2+. Ni 2+ Cd 2+ Zn 2+. Trace metals of importance. Complexation field diagram.

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trace metals phytoplankton
Trace Metals & Phytoplankton

Gert Vlaming

24-01-2003

contents
Contents
  • Introduction
  • Trace metals
  • Importance of phytoplankton
  • Conclusion
gaia theory
Gaia theory

Environment

Life

trace metals of importance
Fe3+

Mn2+

Co2+

Cu2+

Ni2+

Cd2+

Zn2+

Trace metals of importance
recycled elements
Recycled elements
  • Low concentrations in the surface layer
  • Enhanced concentrations in the deeper water
  • Residence time: intermediate (103 – 105 yrs)
  • Concentrations: 10-12 – 10-5 M
concentrations ii
Concentrations II
  • Atlantic ocean receives a greater flux of windborne dust and atmospheric contaminants than the Pacific
  • Accumulated elements released from the decaying particulate matter
  • Mn and Co: adsorption onto particles
biochemical functions
Biochemical functions

And many enzymatic reactions

availability
Availability
  • > 97% of the total metal in solution is held in strong organic complexes
  • These complexes are not available for phytoplanktonic uptake

The essential trace metals have very low concentrations

fractionation
Fractionation

Broecker & Peng, 1982

rec ycling ratio
Recycling ratio

flux circulating within the ecosystem

R =

flux circulating through the environment

R

R

rec ycling ratio1
Recycling ratio

Whitfield, 1997

rec ycling ratio ii
Recycling ratio II
  • The inability of phytoplankton to exercise absolute discrimination
  • Phytoplankton are capable of actively regulating their internal economy
  • For most essential trace metals the cells are at, or close to, their nutrient limitation levels
adaptations
Adaptations
  • Internal
  • External
  • Interspecific
  • Collective

There’s a “chemical war” going on ...

uptake
Uptake
  • Diffusion
  • Transfer of complexes
  • Capture
  • Uptake by Michaelis-Menten kinetics
organic complexation
Organic complexation
  • Cells release organic complexing agents
  • Beneficial for Fe, Cu en Mn
  • Enabling large pool of Fe to be maintained
  • Maintaining concentrations below toxic levels
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Availability of trace metals is a significant factor regulating primary production
  • Phytoplankton is strongly effecting the concentrations of trace metals
evolution of life
Evolution of life
  • Prokaryotic life: 3.5 Ga
  • Eukaryotic life: 1.5 Ga
  • Multicellular life: 600 Ma
start of multicellular life
Start of multicellular life

Possibly because:

  • Lowering of the alkalinity of the oceans
  • The attainment of an appropriately low global mean temperature
  • The maintenance of a critical level of dissolved oxygen in the sea
  • The establishment of the required cocktail of available trace metals
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