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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. The biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) constitute an active area of oceanographic research due to their role as essential nutrients for marine organisms and their use as tracers of oceanographic processes. Selected TEIs also provide diagnostic information about the physical, geological, and chemical processes that supply or remove solutes in the ocean. Many of these same TEIs provide information about ocean conditions in the past, as their imprint on marine sediments can be interpreted to reflect changes in ocean circulation, biological productivity, the ocean carbon cycle, and more. Other TEIs have been introduced as the result of human activities and are considered contaminants. The development and implementation of contamination-free methods for collecting and analyzing samples for TEIs revolutionized marine chemistry, revealing trace element distributions with oceanographically consistent features and new insights about the processes regulating them. Despite these advances, the volume and geographic coverage of high-quality TEI data by the end of the twentieth century were insufficient to constrain their global biogeochemical cycles. To accelerate progress in this field of research, marine geochemists developed a coordinated international effort to systematically study the marine biogeochemical cycles of TEIs—the GEOTRACES program. Following a decade of planning and implementation,more »GEOTRACES launched its main field effort in 2010. This review, roughly midway through the field program, summarizes the steps involved in designing the program, its management structure, and selected findings.« less
  3. Changes in bioavailable dust-borne iron (Fe) supply to the iron-limited Southern Ocean may influence climate by modulating phytoplankton growth and CO2fixation into organic matter that is exported to the deep ocean. The chemical form (speciation) of Fe impacts its bioavailability, and glacial weathering produces highly labile and bioavailable Fe minerals in modern dust sources. However, the speciation of dust-borne Fe reaching the iron-limited Southern Ocean on glacial−interglacial timescales is unknown, and its impact on the bioavailable iron supply over geologic time has not been quantified. Here we use X-ray absorption spectroscopy on subantarctic South Atlantic and South Pacific marine sediments to reconstruct dust-borne Fe speciation over the last glacial cycle, and determine the impact of glacial activity and glaciogenic dust sources on bioavailable Fe supply. We show that the Fe(II) content, as a percentage of total dust-borne Fe, increases from ∼5 to 10% in interglacial periods to ∼25 to 45% in glacial periods. Consequently, the highly bioavailable Fe(II) flux increases by a factor of ∼15 to 20 in glacial periods compared with the current interglacial, whereas the total Fe flux increases only by a factor of ∼3 to 5. The change in Fe speciation is dominated by primary Fe(II) silicatesmore »characteristic of glaciogenic dust. Our results suggest that glacial physical weathering increases the proportion of highly bioavailable Fe(II) in dust that reaches the subantarctic Southern Ocean in glacial periods, which represents a positive feedback between glacial activity and cold glacial temperatures.

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