Elements Covers

Posts by Alessandro Tagliabue

GEOTRACES Data Products: Standardising and Linking Ocean Trace Elements and Isotope Data at a Global Scale

GEOTRACES is an international program that involves scientists from 35 nations and that has as its primary goal an improved understanding of biogeochemical cycles and the large-scale distribution of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) in the ocean (www.geotraces.org). Trace elements are critical for marine life and influence the functioning of ocean ecosystems and the global carbon cycle; other trace elements are of concern as contaminants or toxins. Thus, understanding the role of trace elements in the marine environment has become a top geoscience priority.

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Oceanic Micronutrients: Trace Metals that are Essential for Marine Life

Trace metals are essential for life in the oceans but are present in extremely low concentrations. The availability of trace elements in surface waters frequently regulates the growth of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. As phytoplankton are responsible for taking up atmospheric carbon dioxide and exporting this to the deep ocean, trace elements are key components regulating the carbon cycle. New observations of the distribution of trace metals across all ocean basins from the GEOTRACES program have revealed a fascinating story of how the combination of trace metals interact with the ocean to regulate biological activity in new and surprising ways.

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