Trace metal partitioning in the top meter of the ocean

by Antonio Tovar-Sánchez, Enrique González-Ortegón, Carlos M. Duarte
Research article Year: 2019 DOI:


Tovar-Sánchez, A., González-Ortegón, E., & Duarte, C. M. (2019). Trace metal partitioning in the top meter of the ocean. Science of The Total Environment652, 907-914.


Understanding the biogeochemical cycles and distribution of trace elements in the marine environment is one of the main challenges in chemical oceanography. We describe herein the trace metal composition of the uppermost surface ocean of various oceanographic regions (Arctic and Southern Oceans, subtropical Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea). Our results show that trace metals in the top meter of the ocean are found in two clearly differentiated layers according to metal abundance and stoichiometry, namely the surface microlayer (SML) and its underlying subsurface water (SSW). Although metal concentrations in the subsurface dissolved fractions vary regionally and globally, it shows a singular metal stoichiometric signature. This work emphasizes the need to study of the SML as unique compartment to improve our understanding of the biogeochemical cycle of trace metals in the surface ocean, especially for metals, such as Pb, Fe and Cu, which are abundant in the SML.



Trace metals Surface-ocean Sea surface microlayer Aerosol deposition Arctic Antarctic