Sea-questration: The effects of marine iron fertilization on phytoplankton carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean.


  • Valerie Haruka Fowles Quest University Canada


The scarcity of iron in marine environments, particularly in the Southern Ocean, provides ideal experimental grounds for large-scale iron fertilization. The Iron Hypothesis, proposed in the 1980s, sparked a series of in-situ fertilization experiments in the HNLC waters of the Southern Ocean aiming to prove that the addition of Fe(II) to iron-deficient phytoplankton populations would enhance photosynthetic processes to the point where they could serve as a viable method of mitigating anthropogenic carbon emissions through the acceleration of oceanic carbon sequestration. By examining the mechanisms behind iron fertilization, as well as contributions to the field and the gaps in knowledge pertaining to three major iron fertilization experiments – SOIREE, SOFeX, and LOHAFEX – this review will provide a comprehensive overview of the past, present, and future of iron fertilization.