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Factors controlling the bioavailability of Atmospheric Iron in the maRine ecosYstems


During the past decade, an increasing interests of the international community towards the 'Iron Hypothesis' has bring the scientists to investigate the actual role of iron in contrasted environments.

Despite the effort done in this large research field concerning the fate of atmospheric iron toward the biological activity, there is still only few direct evidence of the link between dust deposition and an increase in biological productivity in surface waters. 'FAIRY' will aim to tackle the question of the bioavailability of atmospheric iron in surface waters by coupling a series of in vitro experiments and field observations.

The 2 main objectives are
- to investigate the processes that make atmospheric iron bioavailable and
- to observe if marine biological activity is actually stimulated by dust input.

FAIRY will bring new knowledge at 3 different scientific levels:
- From an experimental approach, we will first, characterise the iron content in dust on a large variety of dust sources.
- Second, we will con duct in vitro experiment to increase our knowledge on inorganic/organic processes; the role of bacteria will be considered for the first time as marine studies have shown their potential role in supplying/sequestering bioavailable iron. The coupling of organic/inorganic processes using desert dust collected in source region of desert aerosol constitute a total innovative approach.
- Finally, we propose to couple the geochemistry approaches with satellite observation in a marine area submitted to desert dust inputs (coastal waters off Los Angeles): in this multidisciplinary effort, the simultaneous measurement of the dust flux and of the in situ iron concentrations, the knowledge of the dissolution processes affecting the dust and the remote sensing observations will constitute a panel of actions that definitely may allow to answer the question about the stimulation of the biological activity after a desert dust event.'

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3, Rue Michel-Ange

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