All Volumes (2001-2008)


Volume III, 2003

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Phytoplankton are a major consumer of carbon dioxide. In theory, if phytoplankton are limited in number, more carbon dioxide will be present in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. An increased concentration of iron would, therefore, promote phytoplankton blooms that would consume carbon dioxide. There would then be less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to prevent heat from radiating away from earth. In 1996, an iron seeding experiment was performed in the open ocean to determine whether phytoplankton density would be increased. Phytoplankton rapidly increased in number. The research project results suggested that iron seeding the polar oceans would cause atmospheric carbon dioxide to decrease by as much as 10%.19 Decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is beneficial because over abundance of this substance in the atmosphere causes the Green House Effect. Carbon dioxide prevents radiant heat from leaving earth, thereby increasing the overall temperature.
Iron can be present in ion form or metal form. The ion forms come in two ways: either iron (II) or iron(III). It is the iron (II) that is the important nutrient for phytoplankton and the iron being assessed. lron(III), however, forms an organic complex that is used by protozoan and . I zooplankton as an uptake nutrient.1 The development of special iron (II) defecting systems would allow a better understanding of the relationship between iron(II) concentrations and phytoplankton growth. Currently, the relationship is poorly understood among scientists. Knowing the iron (II) concentrations will, therefore, enhance our knowledge of the biochemical processes in ocean waters.

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