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Title: The iron limitation mosaic in the California Current System: Factors governing Fe availability in the shelf/near‐shelf region

The California Current System is a productive eastern boundary region off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. There is strong seasonality to the region, with high levels of rainfall and river input to the coastal ocean during the winter season, and coastal and Ekman upwelling during the spring and summer. Iron (Fe) input to the coastal ocean during the winter months can be stored in the continental shelf mud belts and then be delivered to the surface ocean by upwelling in the spring and summer. There have been a number of studies providing strong evidence of Fe‐limitation of diatom growth occurring in regions of the California Current System off of California, and the occurrence of Fe‐limitation has been linked with narrow continental shelf mud belt width and low river input. We provide evidence for potential Fe‐limitation of diatoms off the southern coast of Oregon in July 2014, just off the shelf break near Cape Blanco in a region with moderate shelf width and river input. Since eastern boundary regions account for a disproportionally large amount of global primary production, this observation of potential Fe‐limitation in an unexpected near‐shore region of the California Current System has implications for global models of primary productivity. In order to re‐evaluate the factors impacting Fe availability, we utilize satellite imagery to compare with historical datasets, and show that unexpected levels of Fe can often be explained by eddies, plumes of upwelled water moving offshore, or lack of recent upwelling.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Limnology and Oceanography
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 109-123
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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