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Article << Previous     |         Contents Vol 63(7)

Zinc marine biogeochemistry in seawater: a review

Marie Sinoir A B G , Edward C. V. Butler A F , Andrew R. Bowie B C , Mathieu Mongin A , Pavel N. Nesterenko D and Christel S. Hassler E

A CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart Laboratories, Hobart, Tas. 7000, Australia.
B Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies – Sandy Bay, Private Bag 129, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.
C Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.
D Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS) School of Chemistry, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.
E Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia.
F Present address: Australian Institute of Marine Science, Arafura Timor Research Facility, Brinkin, NT 8010, Australia.
G Corresponding author. Email: Marie.Sinoir@csiro.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 63(7) 644-657 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF11286
Submitted: 23 December 2011  Accepted: 18 May 2012   Published: 4 July 2012


 
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Abstract

The interest in trace element biogeochemistry has arisen from the well demonstrated iron hypothesis that revealed the central role that iron exerts on oceanic primary and associated biogeochemical cycles. The essentiality of zinc for key biological enzymes, coupled with a nutrient-like vertical distribution with low dissolved concentrations in many marine surface waters, provided motivation to study zinc in marine systems. Laboratory studies have confirmed the importance of zinc to sustain phytoplankton growth and its influence on the composition of the phytoplankton community. However, mixed results were obtained in the field, which suggest a more subtle effect of zinc on oceanic phytoplankton growth than iron. As a consequence, consensus on its biological role, mechanisms at play or regional versus global relevance is currently lacking and highlights the need for new conceptual models of zinc in marine systems. The recent GEOTRACES program is generating new data approaches to discuss and understand further zinc behaviour in the ocean.

Additional keywords: cycling, determination, limitation, modelling, speciation.


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