MIT NEWS OFFICE Seeding oceans with iron may not impact climate change Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office Monday, February 17, 2020

A new MIT study suggests that iron ferilization may not have a significant impact on phytoplankton growth, at least on a global scale.

The researchers studied the interactions between phytoplankton, iron, and other nutrients in the ocean that help phytoplankton grow. Their simulations suggest that on a global scale, marine life has tuned ocean chemistry through these interactions, evolving to maintain a level of ocean iron that supports a delicate balance of nutrients in various regions of the world.

“According to our framework, iron fertilization cannot have a significant overall effect on the amount of carbon in the ocean because the total amount of iron that microbes need is already just right,’’ says lead author Jonathan Lauderdale, a research scientist in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. 

The paper’s co-authors are Rogier Braakman, Gael Forget, Stephanie Dutkiewicz, and Mick Follows at MIT.

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