Award Abstract # 0452883
Interactions of Cobalt and Iron with in situ Cyanobacterial Physiology in the South Atlantic and the Benguela Upwelling Region

Division Of Ocean Sciences
Initial Amendment Date: March 28, 2005
Latest Amendment Date: October 25, 2007
Award Number: 0452883
Award Instrument: Standard Grant
Program Manager: Donald L. Rice
 Division Of Ocean Sciences
 Directorate For Geosciences
Start Date: April 1, 2005
End Date: March 31, 2008 (Estimated)
Total Intended Award Amount: $0.00
Total Awarded Amount to Date: $553,462.00
Funds Obligated to Date: FY 2005 = $553,462.00
History of Investigator:
  • Mak  Saito (Principal Investigator)  (508)289-2393
  • Eric  Webb (Co-Principal Investigator)
Awardee Sponsored Research Office: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
266 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole
MA  US  02543-1535
Sponsor Congressional District: 09
Primary Place of Performance: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
266 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole
MA  US  02543-1535
Primary Place of Performance
Congressional District:
DUNS ID: 001766682
Parent DUNS ID: 001766682
NSF Program(s): Chemical Oceanography
Primary Program Source:
Program Reference Code(s): 0000, OTHR
Program Element Code(s): 1670
Award Agency Code: 4900
Fund Agency Code: 4900
CFDA Number(s): 47.050




The geochemistries of dissolved cobalt and iron in the oceanic water column share several characteristics such as extremely low concentrations, redox chemistry, low solubility, and utilization as micronutrients by marine microbes. Iron has been the subject of considerable research focus in recent years due to its role in limiting phytoplankton productivity in oceanic and coastal upwelling environments. Cobalt has been much less studied, but recent data shows it may be important in influencing primary productivity or phytoplankton community composition in certain geographical areas.

In this project, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will apply state-of-the-art geochemical and molecular biological techniques to study the biogeochemical cycling of these two trace metals in the South Atlantic. There will be 27-day 2007 cruise to the south Atlantic to study cobalt and iron biogeochemistry focusing on four major hypotheses: 1) Large fluxes of labile cobalt are associated with upwelling systems even in Aeolian dominated environments. 2) Cobalt and phosphate show correlations in (and only in) surface waters due to micronutrient utilization and rapid remineralization. The slope of the correlation is dependent on the chemical speciation of cobalt. 3) The absence of Trichodesmium populations in the subtropical and tropical South Atlantic is caused by iron limitation. 4) Based on work from the California and Peru Upwelling regimes, primary productivity in the Benguela upwelling regime off of South West Africa may be iron limited or iron-cobalt colimited.

Broader Impacts - In addition to increasing our understanding of the biogeochemistry of two important trace metals (Fe and Co) in a region with little data coverage, this project will support the development of a Co stress assay that will be disseminated to the oceanographic community. This project will conclude the thesis work of one graduate student and initiate the work of another. These students will partake in analytical measurements and molecular studies. Three undergraduate research fellows will also work on molecular studies during summer internships. Priority will be given to students from underrepresented groups at small colleges that typically do not offer hands-on research opportunities.


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M.A. Saito and D.L. Schneider 565. 222-233. "Examination of the precipitation chemistry and improvements in precision using the Mg(OH)2 preconcentration ICP-MS method for high-throughput analysis of open-ocean Fe and Mn in seawater." Analytica Chimica Acta. , v.565 , 2006 , p.222
M.A. Saito and T. Goepfert "Zinc-cobalt co-limitation in Phaeocystis antarctica." Limnology and Oceanography. , v.53(1) , 2008 , p.266
Bertrand*, E.M., M.A. Saito*, J.M. Rose, C.R. Riesselman, M.C. Lohan, A.E. Noble, P.A. Lee, G.R. DiTullio. * co-first authors "Vitamin B12 and iron co-limitation of phytoplankton growth in the Ross Sea." Limnology and Oceanography , v.52(3) , 2007 , p.1079
S.G. John, R.W. Geis, M.A. Saito, E.A. Boyle. "Zinc isotope fractionation during high-affinity and low-affinity transport in Thalassiosira oceanica." Limnology and Oceanogrpahy , v.52(6) , 2007 , p.2710
Church, M.J., K.M. Björkman, D.M. Karl, M.A. Saito, and J.P. Zehr. "Regional distributions of nitrogen fixing bacteria in the Pacific Ocean." Limnology and Oceanography , v.53(1) , 2008 , p.63
Moore, L., A. Coe, E. Zinser, M.A. Saito, M. Sullivan, D. Lindell, K. Frois-Moniz, K. Krumhardt, T. Swett, J. Waterbury, S.W. Chisholm. "Culturing of the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus." Limnology Oceanography Methods , v.5 , 2007 , p.353

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