The biogeochemical cycles of trace metals in the oceans

Francois M. M. Morel, N. M. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

878 Scopus citations


Planktonic uptake of some essential metals results in extraordinarily low concentrations in surface seawater. To sequester or take up these micronutrients, various microorganisms apparently release strong complexing agents and catalyze redox reactions that modify the bioavailability of trace metals and promote their rapid cycling in the upper water column. In turn, the low availability of some metals controls the rate of photosynthesis in parts of the oceans and the transformation and uptake of major nutrients such as nitrogen. The extremely low concentrations of several essential metals are both the cause and the result of ultraefficient uptake systems in the plankton and of widespread replacement of metals by one another for various biochemical functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-947
Number of pages4
Issue number5621
StatePublished - May 9 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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