Novel Insights into Marine Iron Biogeochemistry from Iron Isotopes. Academic Article uri icon


  • The micronutrient iron plays a major role in setting the magnitude and distribution of primary production across the global ocean. As such, an understanding of the sources, sinks, and internal cycling processes that drive the oceanic distribution of iron is key to unlocking iron's role in the global carbon cycle and climate, both today and in the geologic past. Iron isotopic analyses of seawater have emerged as a transformative tool for diagnosing iron sources to the ocean and tracing biogeochemical processes. In this review, we summarize the end-member isotope signatures of different iron source fluxes and highlight the novel insights into iron provenance gained using this tracer. We also review ways in which iron isotope fractionation might be used to understand internal oceanic cycling of iron, including speciation changes, biological uptake, and particle scavenging. We conclude with an overview of future research needed to expand the utilization of this cutting-edge tracer.

published proceedings

  • Ann Rev Mar Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Fitzsimmons, J. N., & Conway, T. M.

complete list of authors

  • Fitzsimmons, Jessica N||Conway, Tim M

publication date

  • January 2023