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  • 1
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    Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Publication Date: 2017-02-16
    Description: Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution February 2017
    Description: Although over a dozen elements are needed to support phytoplankton growth, only a few are considered to be growth-limiting. As the central atom in vitamin B12, cobalt is crucial for metabolism, but its status as a limiting nutrient is uncertain. This thesis investigates the geochemical controls on oceanic cobalt scarcity and their biological consequences. Analysis of over 1000 samples collected in the Tropical Pacific Ocean reveals a dissolved cobalt distribution that is strongly coupled to dissolved oxygen, with peak concentrations where oxygen is lowest. Large cobalt plumes within anoxic waters are maintained by three processes: 1) a cobalt supply from organic matter remineralization, 2) an amplified sedimentary source from oxygen-depleted coastlines, and 3) low-oxygen inhibition of manganese oxidation, which scavenges cobalt from the water column. Rates of scavenging are calculated from a global synthesis of recent GEOTRACES data and agree with cobalt accumulation rates in pelagic sediments. Because both sources and sinks are tied to the extent of oxygen minimum zones, oceanic cobalt inventories are likely dynamic on the span of decades. Despite extremely low cobalt in the South Pacific gyre, the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus thrives. Minimum cobalt and iron requirements of a Prochlorococcus strain isolated from the Equatorial Pacific are quantified. Cobalt quotas are related to demand for ribonucleotide reductase and methionine synthase enzymes, which catalyze critical steps in DNA and protein biosynthesis, respectively. Compared to other cyanobacteria, a streamlined metal physiology makes Prochlorococcus susceptible to competitive inhibition of cobalt uptake by low levels of zinc. Although phytoplankton in the Equatorial Pacific are subject to chronic iron-limitation, widespread cobalt scarcity and vulnerability to zinc inhibition observed in culture imply that wild Prochlorococcus are not far from a cobalt-limitation threshold.
    Description: I am lucky to have benefitted from major financial support of the Saito Lab by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Specifically, National Science Foundation grants for the Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education (CMORE, DBI-0424599), GEOTRACES Pacific and Artic projects (OCE-1233261 and OCE- 1540254), and OCE-1220484 funded my thesis work. National Science Foundation grants OCE- 1031271 and OCE-1337780 and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grants 3782 and 3934 to the Saito lab also provided instrumentation and funded field expeditions that enabled this work.
    Keywords: Cobalt ; Zinc ; Plankton ; Kilo Moana (Ship) Cruise KM1128
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Thesis
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-05-24
    Description: © The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles 32 (2018): 594-616, doi:10.1002/2017GB005830.
    Description: Cobalt is an important micronutrient for ocean microbes as it is present in vitamin B12 and is a co‐factor in various metalloenzymes that catalyze cellular processes. Moreover, when seawater availability of cobalt is compared to biological demands, cobalt emerges as being depleted in seawater, pointing to a potentially important limiting role. To properly account for the potential biological role for cobalt, there is therefore a need to understand the processes driving the biogeochemical cycling of cobalt and, in particular, the balance between external inputs and internal cycling. To do so, we developed the first cobalt model within a state‐of‐the‐art three‐dimensional global ocean biogeochemical model. Overall, our model does a good job in reproducing measurements with a correlation coefficient of 〉0.7 in the surface and 〉0.5 at depth. We find that continental margins are the dominant source of cobalt, with a crucial role played by supply under low bottom‐water oxygen conditions. The basin‐scale distribution of cobalt supplied from margins is facilitated by the activity of manganese‐oxidizing bacteria being suppressed under low oxygen and low temperatures, which extends the residence time of cobalt. Overall, we find a residence time of 7 and 250 years in the upper 250 m and global ocean, respectively. Importantly, we find that the dominant internal resupply process switches from regeneration and recycling of particulate cobalt to dissolution of scavenged cobalt between the upper ocean and the ocean interior. Our model highlights key regions of the ocean where biological activity may be most sensitive to cobalt availability.
    Description: EC | H2020 | H2020 Priority Excellent Science | H2020 European Research Council (ERC) Grant Number: 724289; Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Grant Number: NE/N001079/1; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant Number: 3738; NSF OCE Grant Numbers: 0929919, 0752832, 0649639, 0223378, 1658030, 1736599; NERC Grant Number: NE/N001079/1; European Research Council Grant Number: 724289
    Keywords: Biogeochemistry ; Trace elements ; Modeling
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-08-09
    Description: © The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Chemical Geology 493 (2018): 210-223, doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.05.040.
    Description: The GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product 2017 (IDP2017) is the second publicly available data product of the international GEOTRACES programme, and contains data measured and quality controlled before the end of 2016. The IDP2017 includes data from the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Southern and Indian oceans, with about twice the data volume of the previous IDP2014. For the first time, the IDP2017 contains data for a large suite of biogeochemical parameters as well as aerosol and rain data characterising atmospheric trace element and isotope (TEI) sources. The TEI data in the IDP2017 are quality controlled by careful assessment of intercalibration results and multi-laboratory data comparisons at crossover stations. The IDP2017 consists of two parts: (1) a compilation of digital data for more than 450 TEIs as well as standard hydrographic parameters, and (2) the eGEOTRACES Electronic Atlas providing an on-line atlas that includes more than 590 section plots and 130 animated 3D scenes. The digital data are provided in several formats, including ASCII, Excel spreadsheet, netCDF, and Ocean Data View collection. Users can download the full data packages or make their own custom selections with a new on-line data extraction service. In addition to the actual data values, the IDP2017 also contains data quality flags and 1-σ data error values where available. Quality flags and error values are useful for data filtering and for statistical analysis. Metadata about data originators, analytical methods and original publications related to the data are linked in an easily accessible way. The eGEOTRACES Electronic Atlas is the visual representation of the IDP2017 as section plots and rotating 3D scenes. The basin-wide 3D scenes combine data from many cruises and provide quick overviews of large-scale tracer distributions. These 3D scenes provide geographical and bathymetric context that is crucial for the interpretation and assessment of tracer plumes near ocean margins or along ridges. The IDP2017 is the result of a truly international effort involving 326 researchers from 25 countries. This publication provides the critical reference for unpublished data, as well as for studies that make use of a large cross-section of data from the IDP2017. This article is part of a special issue entitled: Conway GEOTRACES - edited by Tim M. Conway, Tristan Horner, Yves Plancherel, and Aridane G. González.
    Description: We gratefully acknowledge financial support by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) through grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, including grants OCE-0608600, OCE-0938349, OCE-1243377, and OCE-1546580. Financial support was also provided by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Ministry of Earth Science of India, the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, l'Université Paul Sabatier de Toulouse, the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées Toulouse, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the Kiel Excellence Cluster The Future Ocean, the Swedish Museum of Natural History, The University of Tokyo, The University of British Columbia, The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, the GEOMAR-Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, and the Alfred Wegener Institute.
    Keywords: GEOTRACES ; Trace elements ; Isotopes ; Electronic atlas ; IDP2017
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2016-11-19
    Description: © The Author(s), 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Biogeosciences 13 (2016): 5697-5717, doi:10.5194/bg-13-5697-2016.
    Description: Cobalt is a nutrient to phytoplankton, but knowledge about its biogeochemical cycling is limited, especially in the Pacific Ocean. Here, we report sections of dissolved cobalt and labile dissolved cobalt from the US GEOTRACES GP16 transect in the South Pacific. The cobalt distribution is closely tied to the extent and intensity of the oxygen minimum zone in the eastern South Pacific with highest concentrations measured at the oxycline near the Peru margin. Below 200 m, remineralization and circulation produce an inverse relationship between cobalt and dissolved oxygen that extends throughout the basin. Within the oxygen minimum zone, elevated concentrations of labile cobalt are generated by input from coastal sources and reduced scavenging at low O2. As these high cobalt waters are upwelled and advected offshore, phytoplankton export returns cobalt to low-oxygen water masses underneath. West of the Peru upwelling region, dissolved cobalt is less than 10 pM in the euphotic zone and strongly bound by organic ligands. Because the cobalt nutricline within the South Pacific gyre is deeper than in oligotrophic regions in the North and South Atlantic, cobalt involved in sustaining phytoplankton productivity in the gyre is heavily recycled and ultimately arrives from lateral transport of upwelled waters from the eastern margin. In contrast to large coastal inputs, atmospheric deposition and hydrothermal vents along the East Pacific Rise appear to be minor sources of cobalt. Overall, these results demonstrate that oxygen biogeochemistry exerts a strong influence on cobalt cycling.
    Description: This work was funded by NSF awards OCE-1233733 to MAS, OCE-1232814 to BST, and OCE-1237011 to JAR.
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-03-04
    Description: © The Author(s), 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Frontiers in Marine Science 3 (2016): 243, doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00243.
    Description: Organic ligands form strong complexes with many trace elements in seawater. Various metals can compete for the same ligand chelation sites, and the final speciation of bound metals is determined by relative binding affinities, concentrations of binding sites, uncomplexed metal concentrations, and association/dissociation kinetics. Different ligands have a wide range of metal affinities and specificities. However, the chemical composition of these ligands in the marine environment remains poorly constrained, which has hindered progress in modeling marine metal speciation. In this study, we detected and characterized natural ligands that bind copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni) in the eastern South Pacific Ocean with liquid chromatography tandem inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LC-ICPMS), and high-resolution electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESIMS). Dissolved Cu, Ni, and ligand concentrations were highest near the coast. Chromatographically unresolved polar compounds dominated ligands isolated near the coast by solid phase extraction. Offshore, metal and ligand concentrations decreased, but several new ligands appeared. One major ligand was detected that bound both Cu2+ and Ni2+. Based on accurate mass and fragmentation measurements, this compound has a molecular formula of [C20H21N4O8S2+M]+ (M = metal isotope) and contains several azole-like metal binding groups. Additional lipophilic Ni complexes were also present only in oligotrophic waters, with masses of 649, 698, and 712 m/z (corresponding to the 58Ni metal complex). Molecular formulae of [C32H54N3O6S2Ni]+ and [C33H56N3O6S2Ni]+ were determined for two of these compounds. Addition of Cu and Ni to the samples also revealed the presence of additional compounds that can bind both Ni and Cu. Although these specific compounds represent a small fraction of the total dissolved Cu and Ni pool, they highlight the compositional diversity and spatial heterogeneity of marine Ni and Cu ligands, as well as variability in the extent to which different metals in the same environment compete for ligand binding.
    Description: Support was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) program in Chemical Oceanography (OCE-1356747, OCE-1233261, OCE-1233733, OCE-1233502, and OCE-1237034), the NSF Science and Technology Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education (C-MORE; DBI-0424599), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (#3298 and 3934), and the Simons Foundation (#329108, DR).
    Keywords: Copper ; Nickel ; Marine ligands ; Metal competition ; GEOTRACES ; Eastern Pacific
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-07-06
    Description: © The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Biogeosciences 14 (2017): 2715-2739, doi:10.5194/bg-14-2715-2017.
    Description: Cobalt is the scarcest of metallic micronutrients and displays a complex biogeochemical cycle. This study examines the distribution, chemical speciation, and biogeochemistry of dissolved cobalt during the US North Atlantic GEOTRACES transect expeditions (GA03/3_e), which took place in the fall of 2010 and 2011. Two major subsurface sources of cobalt to the North Atlantic were identified. The more prominent of the two was a large plume of cobalt emanating from the African coast off the eastern tropical North Atlantic coincident with the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) likely due to reductive dissolution, biouptake and remineralization, and aeolian dust deposition. The occurrence of this plume in an OMZ with oxygen above suboxic levels implies a high threshold for persistence of dissolved cobalt plumes. The other major subsurface source came from Upper Labrador Seawater, which may carry high cobalt concentrations due to the interaction of this water mass with resuspended sediment at the western margin or from transport further upstream. Minor sources of cobalt came from dust, coastal surface waters and hydrothermal systems along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The full depth section of cobalt chemical speciation revealed near-complete complexation in surface waters, even within regions of high dust deposition. However, labile cobalt observed below the euphotic zone demonstrated that strong cobalt-binding ligands were not present in excess of the total cobalt concentration there, implying that mesopelagic labile cobalt was sourced from the remineralization of sinking organic matter. In the upper water column, correlations were observed between total cobalt and phosphate, and between labile cobalt and phosphate, demonstrating a strong biological influence on cobalt cycling. Along the western margin off the North American coast, this correlation with phosphate was no longer observed and instead a relationship between cobalt and salinity was observed, reflecting the importance of coastal input processes on cobalt distributions. In deep waters, both total and labile cobalt concentrations were lower than in intermediate depth waters, demonstrating that scavenging may remove labile cobalt from the water column. Total and labile cobalt distributions were also compared to a previously published South Atlantic GEOTRACES-compliant zonal transect (CoFeMUG, GAc01) to discern regional biogeochemical differences. Together, these Atlantic sectional studies highlight the dynamic ecological stoichiometry of total and labile cobalt. As increasing anthropogenic use and subsequent release of cobalt poses the potential to overpower natural cobalt signals in the oceans, it is more important than ever to establish a baseline understanding of cobalt distributions in the ocean.
    Description: We also gratefully acknowledge support of funding agencies on the following grants: the US National Science Foundation (NSF-OCE 0928414, 1233261, 1435056) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (grant 3738).
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-11-16
    Description: © The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Biogeosciences 14 (2017): 4637-4662, doi:10.5194/bg-14-4637-2017.
    Description: The stoichiometry of biological components and their influence on dissolved distributions have long been of interest in the study of the oceans. Cobalt has the smallest oceanic inventory of inorganic micronutrients and hence is particularly vulnerable to influence by internal oceanic processes including euphotic zone uptake, remineralization, and scavenging. Here we observe not only large variations in dCo : P stoichiometry but also the acceleration of those dCo : P ratios in the upper water column in response to several environmental processes. The ecological stoichiometry of total dissolved cobalt (dCo) was examined using data from a US North Atlantic GEOTRACES transect and from a zonal South Atlantic GEOTRACES-compliant transect (GA03/3_e and GAc01) by Redfieldian analysis of its statistical relationships with the macronutrient phosphate. Trends in the dissolved cobalt to phosphate (dCo : P) stoichiometric relationships were evident in the basin-scale vertical structure of cobalt, with positive dCo : P slopes in the euphotic zone and negative slopes found in the ocean interior and in coastal environments. The euphotic positive slopes were often found to accelerate towards the surface and this was interpreted as being due to the combined influence of depleted phosphate, phosphorus-sparing (conserving) mechanisms, increased alkaline phosphatase metalloenzyme production (a zinc or perhaps cobalt enzyme), and biochemical substitution of Co for depleted Zn. Consistent with this, dissolved Zn (dZn) was found to be drawn down to only 2-fold more than dCo, despite being more than 18-fold more abundant in the ocean interior. Particulate cobalt concentrations increased in abundance from the base of the euphotic zone to become  ∼  10 % of the overall cobalt inventory in the upper euphotic zone with high stoichiometric values of  ∼  400 µmol Co mol−1 P. Metaproteomic results from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) station found cyanobacterial isoforms of the alkaline phosphatase enzyme to be prevalent in the upper water column, as well as a sulfolipid biosynthesis protein indicative of P sparing. The negative dCo : P relationships in the ocean interior became increasingly vertical with depth, and were consistent with the sum of scavenging and remineralization processes (as shown by their dCo : P vector sums). Attenuation of the remineralization with depth resulted in the increasingly vertical dCo : P relationships. Analysis of particulate Co with particulate Mn and particulate phosphate also showed positive linear relationships below the euphotic zone, consistent with the presence and increased relative influence of Mn oxide particles involved in scavenging. Visualization of dCo : P slopes across an ocean section revealed hotspots of scavenging and remineralization, such as at the hydrothermal vents and below the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) region, respectively, while that of an estimate of Co* illustrated stoichiometrically depleted values in the mesopelagic and deep ocean due to scavenging. This study provides insights into the coupling between the dissolved and particulate phase that ultimately creates Redfield stoichiometric ratios, demonstrating that the coupling is not an instantaneous process and is influenced by the element inventory and rate of exchange between phases. Cobalt's small water column inventory and the influence of external factors on its biotic stoichiometry can erode its limited inertia and result in an acceleration of the dissolved stoichiometry towards that of the particulate phase in the upper euphotic zone. As human use of cobalt grows exponentially with widespread adoption of lithium ion batteries, there is a potential to affect the limited biogeochemical inertia of cobalt and its resultant ecology in the oceanic euphotic zone.
    Description: This work was funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the US GEOTRACES North Atlantic Zonal Transect program under grants OCE-0928414 and OCE-1435056 (to Mak A. Saito), OCE-0928289 (to Benjamin S. Twining), OCE-0963026 (to Phoebe Lam) and support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (3782 to Mak A. Saito).
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-09-05
    Description: From June to August 2018, the eruption of Kīlauea volcano on the island of Hawai‘i injected millions of cubic meters of molten lava into the nutrient-poor waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The lava-impacted seawater was characterized by high concentrations of metals and nutrients that stimulated phytoplankton growth, resulting in an extensive plume of chlorophyll a that was detectable by satellite. Chemical and molecular evidence revealed that this biological response hinged on unexpectedly high concentrations of nitrate, despite the negligible quantities of nitrogen in basaltic lava. We hypothesize that the high nitrate was caused by buoyant plumes of nutrient-rich deep waters created by the substantial input of lava into the ocean. This large-scale ocean fertilization was therefore a unique perturbation event that revealed how marine ecosystems respond to exogenous inputs of nutrients.
    Print ISSN: 0036-8075
    Electronic ISSN: 1095-9203
    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Computer Science , Medicine , Natural Sciences in General , Physics
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