Navigation Links
Scientists, policymakers and industry leaders gather to discuss ocean iron fertilization

On September 26-27, scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will host an international, interdisciplinary conference on the proposed iron fertilization of the ocean as a means to combat rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Several times over the past century, scientists and environmental engineers have proposed spreading slurries of dissolved iron into the oceans in order to fertilize the waters and promote vast blooms of marine plants (phytoplankton). Phytoplankton consume carbon dioxide as they grow, and this growth can be stimulated in certain ocean basins by the addition of iron, a necessary micronutrient.

Though common on land, dissolved iron is often rare in the ocean. Some researchers and commercial interests have recently proposed to provide that missing nutrient on a large scale in order to create artificial blooms. Theory holds that if you make such blooms large enough, you could remove excess carbon dioxide from Earths atmosphere and carry it down into the deep ocean as organic matter (such as fecal pellets and dead plankton) sinks, thereby reducing the impact of greenhouse gases and global warming.

There are many critical questions that require both better scientific understanding and an improved legal, economic, and political framework before iron fertilization can be considered either effective or appropriate, said Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist in WHOIs Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department and a participant in two iron fertilization experiments at sea. The time is right to bring scientists, policymakers, and commercial interests together to inform each other and the public.

Scientists took a serious interest in the idea in the late 1980s after oceanographer John Martin famously told colleagues: Give me half a tanker of iron and Ill give you the next ice age. Iron fertilization has since been tested in at least a dozen experiments around the world. The results have varied, but in general, iron fertilizers have been shown to promote plant growth in surface waters. However, many researchers remain skeptical about whether the process removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the long term or just for a fleeting time. Ecological impacts from long-term, large-scale fertilization are also a concern.

The purpose of the Woods Hole conference is to bring researchers, policymakers, industrial interests, regulators, and environmentalists together to share their scientific observations and discuss the range of issues involved in altering the chemistry of the ocean. It is not intended as forum or referendum for specific projects and ventures.

In 20 hours of formal presentations and panel discussions over two days, participants will discuss:

  • Efficacy: Can iron fertilization work?
  • Research: What do we already know, and what could future studies, models, and experiments tell us?
  • Consequence: What will be the intended and unintended impacts?
  • Policy: What are the economic, social, and regulatory considerations?

The symposiumExploring Ocean Iron Fertilization: The Scientific, Economic, Legal, and Political Basis-- is being hosted by Buesseler, Scott Doney, a senior scientist in the WHOI Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, and Hauke Kite-Powell, a research specialist in the WHOI Marine Policy Center.


Contact: WHOI Media Relations
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Related biology news :

1. For Stanford scientists, RNAi gene therapy takes two steps forward, one step back
2. Affymetrix and ParAllele Launch Industrys Most Comprehensive Product Line for Targeted Genotyping
3. Shark skin saves naval industry money
4. Quick identification needed to save Floridas citrus industry from devastating disease
5. Scaled-down genome may power up E. colis ability in lab, industry
6. Report finds cruise industry is protecting the precious places it visits
7. Over-use of antibiotics in fish-for-food industry encourages bacterial resistance and disease
8. A cleaner, greener rice industry
9. Protect patients from exploitation by alternative medicines industry
10. Developing uses for sugar-cane bagasse: Biotechnology applied to the paper industry
11. Plastic that degrades in seawater could be boon for cruise industry and others
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/30/2017)... NEW YORK , March 30, 2017 ... by type (physiological and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, ... recognition, voice recognition, and others), by end use industry ... travel and immigration, financial and banking, and others), and ... Europe , Asia Pacific ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics ... Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, ... 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical ... CHS for its high level of EMR usage ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 ... Continue Reading ... ...      ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a ... in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics in an ... on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people by 2050, ... a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources are becoming ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which uses the surface electromyography ... generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). The prospective multicenter phase ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel Prize ... scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and ... cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped to ... structural biology community. The winners worked with systems ... routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of protein ...
Breaking Biology Technology: