Major role of planktonic phosphate reduction in the marine phosphorus redox cycle

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Science  15 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6236, pp. 783-785
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8181

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  • Future Directions

    As part of my MSc. Geochemistry degree at the University of St. Andrews we are encouraged to review articles that are of interest to us. I have compiled a letter to the authors and any interested academics who are considering further work based on the findings in this publication.

    Van Mooy et al., 2015 applied published understanding that various heterotrophic organisms (including bacteria, cyanobacteria and archaea) can produce phosphonates (Karl., 2014, Metcalf et al., 2012) and thus enabling rapid recycling of oceanic phosphorus through a previously unrecognised vast pool of reduced phosphorus. The conclusion of the experiment, based upon experimentation of Trichodesmium and sampling in the tropical western North Atlantic Ocean that stated phosphorus recycling from redox reactions is equal to or greater than oceanic phosphorus inputs from continental and atmospheric sources. Van Mooy et al., 2015 could quantitatively constrain this cycling with a value of surface waters and intermediate waters contributing 2x1011 moles of chemical phosphate reduction per year.

    As these results are incredibly significant to understanding biogeochemical cycling of phosphate in the oceans, it would be worthwhile building on these initial findings with further investigation in the form of additional experimental analysis, improved analytical precision and more expansive field work. Additionally, providing a broader biogeochemical context to the importance of this investigatio...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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