Foreman Rhea K.

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Rhea K.

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  • Article
    Phosphonate cycling supports methane and ethylene supersaturation in the phosphate-depleted western North Atlantic Ocean
    (Wiley, 2020-05-20) Sosa, Oscar A. ; Burrell, Timothy J. ; Wilson, Samuel T. ; Foreman, Rhea K. ; Karl, David M. ; Repeta, Daniel J.
    In oligotrophic ocean regions, dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) plays a prominent role as a source of phosphorus (P) to microorganisms. An important bioavailable component of DOP is phosphonates, organophosphorus compounds with a carbon‐phosphorus (C‐P) bond, which are ubiquitous in high molecular weight dissolved organic matter (HMWDOM). In addition to being a source of P, the degradation of phosphonates by the bacterial C‐P lyase enzymatic pathway causes the release of trace hydrocarbon gases relevant to climate and atmospheric chemistry. In this study, we investigated the roles of phosphate and phosphonate cycling in the production of methane (CH4) and ethylene (C2H4) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, a region that features a transition in phosphate concentrations from coastal to open ocean waters. We observed an inverse relationship between phosphate and the saturation state of CH4 and C2H4 in the water column, and between phosphate and the relative abundance of the C‐P lyase marker gene phnJ . In phosphate‐depleted waters, methylphosphonate and 2‐hydroxyethylphosphonate, the C‐P lyase substrates that yield CH4 and C2H4, respectively, were readily degraded in proportions consistent with their abundance and bioavailability in HMWDOM and with the concentrations of CH4 and C2H4 in the water column. We conclude that phosphonate degradation through the C‐P lyase pathway is an important source and a common production pathway of CH4 and C2H4 in the phosphate‐depleted surface waters of the western North Atlantic Ocean and that phosphate concentration can be an important control on the saturation state of these gases in the upper ocean.
  • Article
    Iron depletion in the deep chlorophyll maximum: mesoscale eddies as natural iron fertilization experiments
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-11-17) Hawco, Nicholas J. ; Barone, Benedetto ; Church, Matthew J. ; Babcock-Adams, Lydia ; Repeta, Daniel J. ; Wear, Emma K. ; Foreman, Rhea K. ; Björkman, Karin M. ; Bent, Shavonna M. ; Van Mooy, Benjamin A. S. ; Sheyn, Uri ; DeLong, Edward F. ; Acker, Marianne ; Kelly, Rachel L. ; Nelson, Alexa ; Ranieri, John ; Clemente, Tara M. ; Karl, David M. ; John, Seth G.
    In stratified oligotrophic waters, phytoplankton communities forming the deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) are isolated from atmospheric iron sources above and remineralized iron sources below. Reduced supply leads to a minimum in dissolved iron (dFe) near 100 m, but it is unclear if iron limits growth at the DCM. Here, we propose that natural iron addition events occur regularly with the passage of mesoscale eddies, which alter the supply of dFe and other nutrients relative to the availability of light, and can be used to test for iron limitation at the DCM. This framework is applied to two eddies sampled in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Observations in an anticyclonic eddy center indicated downwelling of iron-rich surface waters, leading to increased dFe at the DCM but no increase in productivity. In contrast, uplift of isopycnals within a cyclonic eddy center increased supply of both nitrate and dFe to the DCM, and led to dominance of picoeukaryotic phytoplankton. Iron addition experiments did not increase productivity in either eddy, but significant enhancement of leucine incorporation in the light was observed in the cyclonic eddy, a potential indicator of iron stress among Prochlorococcus. Rapid cycling of siderophores and low dFe:nitrate uptake ratios also indicate that a portion of the microbial community was stressed by low iron. However, near-complete nitrate drawdown in this eddy, which represents an extreme case in nutrient supply compared to nearby Hawaii Ocean Time-series observations, suggests that recycling of dFe in oligotrophic ecosystems is sufficient to avoid iron limitation in the DCM under typical conditions.