Trace Element Composition of Phytoplankton Along the US GEOTRACES Pacific Zonal Transect: Comparing Single-Cell SXRF Quotas, Chemical Leaching, and Bulk Particle Digestion

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 12:05 PM
Daniel Ohnemus, Sara Rauschenberg and Benjamin S. Twining, Bigelow Lab for Ocean Sciences, East Boothbay, ME, United States
The elemental stoichiometries of phytoplankton are critical ecological and chemical parameters due to biological participation in, if not control over, the marine cycles of many GEOTRACES trace elements and isotopes (TEI). Elemental stoichiometries in euphotic zone protists can be used as end-members in biogeochemical models for bioactive elements (e.g. Fe, Si) and can provide insight into relationships found in the deep ocean and sediments (e.g. Cd:P, Zn:Si) due to broad and organism-specific geochemical links. Though sub-euphotic zone (e.g. hydrothermal, margin-sourced lateral) inputs and processes are also interesting aspects of these cycles, biological incorporation of TEIs in the euphotic zone is, fundamentally, where “the rubber meets the road.” Using the 2013 Pacific GEOTRACES super stations and Peruvian coastal transect as ecological waypoints, we present and compare results from three methods for studying trace elemental composition of phytoplankton: single-cell synchrotron x-ray fluorescence (SXRF); weak chemical leaching (acetic acid/hydroxylamine); and total chemical digestion (HNO3/HCl/HF). This combination of techniques allows examination of taxon-specific trends in biotic stoichiometry across the Eastern Pacific and also provides traditional bulk chemical metrics for both biotic and bulk shallow particulate composition.