Image_2_Regulation of the Phytoplankton Heme b Iron Pool During the North Atlantic Spring Bloom.TIF (2.23 MB)

Image_2_Regulation of the Phytoplankton Heme b Iron Pool During the North Atlantic Spring Bloom.TIF

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posted on 11.07.2019, 13:26 by Evangelia Louropoulou, Martha Gledhill, Thomas J. Browning, Dhwani K. Desai, Jan-Lukas Menzel Barraqueta, Manon Tonnard, Géraldine Sarthou, Hélène Planquette, Andrew R. Bowie, Ruth A. Schmitz, Julie LaRoche, Eric P. Achterberg

Heme b is an iron-containing co-factor in hemoproteins. Heme b concentrations are low (<1 pmol L-1) in iron limited phytoplankton in cultures and in the field. Here, we determined heme b in marine particulate material (>0.7 μm) from the North Atlantic Ocean (GEOVIDE cruise – GEOTRACES section GA01), which spanned several biogeochemical regimes. We examined the relationship between heme b abundance and the microbial community composition, and its utility for mapping iron limited phytoplankton. Heme b concentrations ranged from 0.16 to 5.1 pmol L-1 (median = 2.0 pmol L-1, n = 62) in the surface mixed layer (SML) along the cruise track, driven mainly by variability in biomass. However, in the Irminger Basin, the lowest heme b levels (SML: median = 0.53 pmol L-1, n = 12) were observed, whilst the biomass was highest (particulate organic carbon, median = 14.2 μmol L-1, n = 25; chlorophyll a: median = 2.0 nmol L-1, n = 23) pointing to regulatory mechanisms of the heme b pool for growth conservation. Dissolved iron (DFe) was not depleted (SML: median = 0.38 nmol L-1, n = 11) in the Irminger Basin, but large diatoms (Rhizosolenia sp.) dominated. Hence, heme b depletion and regulation is likely to occur during bloom progression when phytoplankton class-dependent absolute iron requirements exceed the available ambient concentration of DFe. Furthermore, high heme b concentrations found in the Iceland Basin and Labrador Sea (median = 3.4 pmol L-1, n = 20), despite having similar DFe concentrations to the Irminger Basin, were attributed to an earlier growth phase of the extant phytoplankton populations. Thus, heme b provides a snapshot of the cellular activity in situ and could both be used as indicator of iron limitation and contribute to understanding phytoplankton adaptation mechanisms to changing iron supplies.