The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The Effects of Natural Iron Fertilisation on Deep-Sea Ecology: The Crozet Plateau, Southern Indian Ocean

Wolff, George A., Billett, David S.M., Bett, Brian J., Holtvoeth, Jens, FitzGeorge-Balfour, Tania, Fisher, Elizabeth H., Cross, Ian, Shannon, Roger, Salter, Ian, Boorman, Ben, King, Nicola J., Jamieson, Alan and Chaillan, Frédéric (2011) The Effects of Natural Iron Fertilisation on Deep-Sea Ecology: The Crozet Plateau, Southern Indian Ocean PLoS ONE, 6, (6), e20697. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020697).

Record type: Article


The addition of iron to high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) oceanic waters stimulates phytoplankton, leading to greater primary production. Large-scale artificial ocean iron fertilization (OIF) has been proposed as a means of mitigating anthropogenic atmospheric CO2, but its impacts on ocean ecosystems below the photic zone are unknown. Natural OIF, through the addition of iron leached from volcanic islands, has been shown to enhance primary productivity and carbon export and so can be used to study the effects of OIF on life in the ocean. We compared two closely-located deep-sea sites (~400 km apart and both at ~4200 m water depth) to the East (naturally iron fertilized; +Fe) and South (HNLC) of the Crozet Islands in the southern Indian Ocean. Our results suggest that long-term geo-engineering of surface oceanic waters via artificial OIF would lead to significant changes in deep-sea ecosystems. We found that the +Fe area had greater supplies of organic matter inputs to the seafloor, including polyunsaturated fatty acid and carotenoid nutrients. The +Fe site also had greater densities and biomasses of large deep-sea animals with lower levels of evenness in community structuring. The species composition was also very different, with the +Fe site showing similarities to eutrophic sites in other ocean basins. Moreover, major differences occurred in the taxa at the +Fe and HNLC sites revealing the crucial role that surface oceanic conditions play in changing and structuring deep-sea benthic communities.

Other fetchObject.action_uri=info_doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0020697&representation=PDF - Version of Record
Available under License Other.
Download (430kB)

More information

Published date: 2011
Organisations: Marine Biogeochemistry


Local EPrints ID: 191607
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: fdc22cbf-dfce-47a7-9d85-0041afe70fa5

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Jun 2011 14:14
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:35

Export record



Author: George A. Wolff
Author: David S.M. Billett
Author: Brian J. Bett
Author: Jens Holtvoeth
Author: Tania FitzGeorge-Balfour
Author: Elizabeth H. Fisher
Author: Ian Cross
Author: Roger Shannon
Author: Ian Salter
Author: Ben Boorman
Author: Nicola J. King
Author: Alan Jamieson
Author: Frédéric Chaillan

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.