Total Particulate Selenium depth profiles from the US GEOTRACES Arctic cruise (HLY1502, GN01) from August to October 2015

Data Type: Cruise Results
Version: 1
Version Date: 2019-10-09

» U.S. Arctic GEOTRACES Study (U.S. GEOTRACES Arctic)
» GEOTRACES Arctic Section: Processes affecting the biogeochemical cycling of essential and toxic metalloids in the Arctic Ocean (GEOTRACES Arctic Arsenic and Selenium)

Cutter, Gregory A.Old Dominion University (ODU)Principal Investigator
Rauch, ShannonWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager


Spatial Extent: N:87.512 E:-149.9051 S:60.2503 W:-179.8042
Temporal Extent: 2015-08-12 - 2015-10-05

Dataset Description

Data have been submitted to BCO-DMO and are currently being processed (2019-10-09).

Acquisition Description

Particulate samples were collected using McLane in situ pumps (P. Lam, UCSC) at various depths (Bishop et al., 2012), with splits (ca. 1/16 section) from a 0.8 µm Supor filter processed and immediately frozen for storage and return to the ODU Lab. The volume of water that passed through each filter was recorded by the pumps.

Water column particulate filters were solubilized using the nitric-perchloric acid reflux digestion procedure described by Cutter (1985) but using a microwave digestion unit. The digestion solutions were analyzed using the selective hydride generation method given in Cutter (1978, 1985). The detection limit for total particulate Se, assuming an average filtration volume of 24 liters, was 0.001 nmol/L, with an accuracy of 85±17 % recovery of the BCR 277R estuarine sediment standard reference material (3s, n=19) and a precision of 11% (RSD) at 0.001 nmol/L.

Processing Description

Only one filter was digested per depth, but the digestion solutions were analyzed in triplicate and means computed. Standard additions of selenite were used for daily calibration on a representative sample and its slope applied to subsequent samples.

[ table of contents | back to top ]

Related Publications

Bishop, J. K. B., Lam, P. J., & Wood, T. J. (2012). Getting good particles: Accurate sampling of particles by large volume in-situ filtration. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 10(9), 681–710. doi:10.4319/lom.2012.10.681
Cutter, G. A. (1978). Species determination of selenium in natural waters. Analytica Chimica Acta, 98(1), 59–66. doi:10.1016/s0003-2670(01)83238-4
Cutter, G. A. (1985). Determination of selenium speciation in biogenic particles and sediments. Analytical Chemistry, 57(14), 2951–2955. doi:10.1021/ac00291a045

[ table of contents | back to top ]


STNNBRStation number unitless
GEOTRC_INSTRSampling device unitless
GEOTRC_EVENTNOGEOTRACES event number unitless
GEOTRC_CASTNOCast number unitless
GEOTRC_SAMPNOGEOTRACES sample number unitless
ISO_DATETIME_GMTDate and time (GMT) in ISO8601 format: yyyy-mm-ddTHH:MM:SS.xx unitless
LATITUDELatitude; positive values = North decimal degrees
LONGITUDELongitude; positive values = East decimal degrees
DEPTHSample depth meters
Se_TP_CONC_PUMPTotal particulate selenium nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)
Se_TP_CONC_PUMP_ERRStandard error for Se_TP_CONC_PUMP nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)
Se_TP_CONC_PUMP_FLAGQuality flag for Se_TP_CONC_PUMP unitless

[ table of contents | back to top ]


Dataset-specific Instrument Name
McLane in situ pumps
Generic Instrument Name
McLane Pump
Generic Instrument Description
McLane pumps sample large volumes of seawater at depth. They are attached to a wire and lowered to different depths in the ocean. As the water is pumped through the filter, particles suspended in the ocean are collected on the filters. The pumps are then retrieved and the contents of the filters are analyzed in a lab.

[ table of contents | back to top ]



Start Date
End Date
Arctic transect encompassing Bering and Chukchi Shelves and the Canadian, Makarov and Amundsen sub-basins of the Arctic Ocean. The transect started in the Bering Sea (60°N) and traveled northward across the Bering Shelf, through the Bering Strait and across the Chukchi shelf, then traversing along 170-180°W across the Alpha-Mendeleev and Lomonosov Ridges to the North Pole (Amundsen basin, 90°N), and then back southward along ~150°W to terminate on the Chukchi Shelf (72°N). Additional cruise information is available in the GO-SHIP Cruise Report (PDF) and from the Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R):

[ table of contents | back to top ]

Project Information

U.S. Arctic GEOTRACES Study (U.S. GEOTRACES Arctic)

Coverage: Arctic Ocean; Sailing from Dutch Harbor to Dutch Harbor (GN01)

Description from NSF award abstract:
In pursuit of its goal "to identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distributions of key trace elements and isotopes in the ocean, and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions", in 2015 the International GEOTRACES Program will embark on several years of research in the Arctic Ocean. In a region where climate warming and general environmental change are occurring at amazing speed, research such as this is important for understanding the current state of Arctic Ocean geochemistry and for developing predictive capability as the regional ecosystem continues to warm and influence global oceanic and climatic conditions. The three investigators funded on this award, will manage a large team of U.S.scientists who will compete through the regular NSF proposal process to contribute their own unique expertise in marine trace metal, isotopic, and carbon cycle geochemistry to the U.S. effort. The three managers will be responsible for arranging and overseeing at-sea technical services such as hydrographic measurements, nutrient analyses, and around-the-clock management of on-deck sampling activites upon which all participants depend, and for organizing all pre- and post-cruise technical support and scientific meetings. The management team will also lead educational outreach activities for the general public in Nome and Barrow, Alaska, to explain the significance of the study to these communities and to learn from residents' insights on observed changes in the marine system. The project itself will provide for the support and training of a number of pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers. Inasmuch as the Arctic Ocean is an epicenter of global climate change, findings of this study are expected to advance present capability to forecast changes in regional and globlal ecosystem and climate system functioning.

As the United States' contribution to the International GEOTRACES Arctic Ocean initiative, this project will be part of an ongoing multi-national effort to further scientific knowledge about trace elements and isotopes in the world ocean. This U.S. expedition will focus on the western Arctic Ocean in the boreal summer of 2015. The scientific team will consist of the management team funded through this award plus a team of scientists from U.S. academic institutions who will have successfully competed for and received NSF funds for specific science projects in time to participate in the final stages of cruise planning. The cruise track segments will include the Bering Strait, Chukchi shelf, and the deep Canada Basin. Several stations will be designated as so-called super stations for intense study of atmospheric aerosols, sea ice, and sediment chemistry as well as water-column processes. In total, the set of coordinated international expeditions will involve the deployment of ice-capable research ships from 6 nations (US, Canada, Germany, Sweden, UK, and Russia) across different parts of the Arctic Ocean, and application of state-of-the-art methods to unravel the complex dynamics of trace metals and isotopes that are important as oceanographic and biogeochemical tracers in the sea.

GEOTRACES Arctic Section: Processes affecting the biogeochemical cycling of essential and toxic metalloids in the Arctic Ocean (GEOTRACES Arctic Arsenic and Selenium)

NSF Award Abstract:
In this project, an investigator participating in the 2015 U.S. GEOTRACES Arctic expedition will establish the concentrations, chemical speciation, and cycling processes of arsenic and selenium in the Arctic Ocean. In common with other multinational initiatives in the International GEOTRACES Program, the goals of the U.S. Arctic expedition are to identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distributions of key trace elements and isotopes in the ocean, and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions. Some trace elements are essential to life, others are known biological toxins, and still others are important because they can be used as tracers of a variety of physical, chemical, and biological processes in the sea. The metalloid elements arsenic and selenium to be studied in this project are toxic to many marine plants and animals, and their cycling in the Arctic is not well known. Thus, this project will have important implications for increased knowledge on the chemistry of these potentially toxic elements. Results from the project will be shared through outreach to Arctic residents and through a PolarTREC teacher who will participate in the cruise.

The metalloid elements arsenic and selenium have dynamic marine cycles that affect the microbiology of the water column and in turn are affected by it. Both exist in multiple oxidation states and inorganic and organic species within an oxidation state. This chemical speciation affects their reactivity and biotic uptake and toxicity. As shown in lower latitude waters, the concentration and speciation of dissolved arsenic can control the abundance and types of primary producers. In the Arctic virtually nothing is known about arsenic cycling, although there are possibly enhanced anthropogenic inputs from Canadian rivers and atmospheric deposition. In contrast, data from the high latitude North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea strongly suggest that anthropogenic selenium from coal combustion is entering the Arctic and enriching its concentration in at least one top predator. The goal of this project is to qualitatively describe the input, removal, and internal cycling processes affecting the speciation and concentrations of arsenic and selenium, and determine rates of inputs and outputs of these processes using both direct measurements and computations. The study will greatly expand knowledge about arsenic and selenium cycling, with strong implications for the changing Arctic.

[ table of contents | back to top ]

Program Information


Coverage: Global

GEOTRACES is a SCOR sponsored program; and funding for program infrastructure development is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

GEOTRACES gained momentum following a special symposium, S02: Biogeochemical cycling of trace elements and isotopes in the ocean and applications to constrain contemporary marine processes (GEOSECS II), at a 2003 Goldschmidt meeting convened in Japan. The GEOSECS II acronym referred to the Geochemical Ocean Section Studies To determine full water column distributions of selected trace elements and isotopes, including their concentration, chemical speciation, and physical form, along a sufficient number of sections in each ocean basin to establish the principal relationships between these distributions and with more traditional hydrographic parameters;

* To evaluate the sources, sinks, and internal cycling of these species and thereby characterize more completely the physical, chemical and biological processes regulating their distributions, and the sensitivity of these processes to global change; and

* To understand the processes that control the concentrations of geochemical species used for proxies of the past environment, both in the water column and in the substrates that reflect the water column.

GEOTRACES will be global in scope, consisting of ocean sections complemented by regional process studies. Sections and process studies will combine fieldwork, laboratory experiments and modelling. Beyond realizing the scientific objectives identified above, a natural outcome of this work will be to build a community of marine scientists who understand the processes regulating trace element cycles sufficiently well to exploit this knowledge reliably in future interdisciplinary studies.

Expand "Projects" below for information about and data resulting from individual US GEOTRACES research projects.

[ table of contents | back to top ]


Funding SourceAward
NSF Division of Ocean Sciences (NSF OCE)

[ table of contents | back to top ]