A massive phytoplankton bloom induced by an ecosystem-scale iron fertilization experiment in the equatorial Pacific Ocean

Nature. 1996 Oct 10;383(6600):495 - 501. doi: 10.1038/383495a0.


The seeding of an expanse of surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean with low concentrations of dissolved iron triggered a massive phytoplankton bloom which consumed large quantities of carbon dioxide and nitrate that these microscopic plants cannot fully utilize under natural conditions. These and other observations provide unequivocal support for the hypothesis that phytoplankton growth in this oceanic region is limited by iron bioavailability.