Little is known about the cycling of metals in the ocean. It is clear that some metals are key elements for biological primary productions. Others, such as rare earth elements, are bio-inactive but scavenge readily on particles and have profiles that resemble nutrients, with depletion near the surface and enrichment at depth. For the most part, the sources, sinks and processes that are responsible for the oceanic distribution of metals have yet to be quantified and, in some cases, described.
We use data collected by us and other GEOTRACES collaborators worldwide in conjunction with circulation and biogeochemical models to test hypotheses and help us constrain the fluxes and the internal dynamics of metals and some of their isotopes in the ocean. Since different metals have different sources and sinks, using an array of tracers allows us to tease apart the relative importance of regional sources and sinks.
NERC, James Martin 21st Century Ocean Institute
- Zheng, X.-Y., Yang, J, Henderson, G.M., (2015). A Robust Procedure for High-Precision Determination of Rare Earth Element Concentrations in Seawater, Geostand. Geoanal. Res. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-908X.2014.00307.x.