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Postcards From the Field
Ironing out the arctic carbon cycle!
To understand the role of iron in the arctic carbon cycle, the Cory Lab did extensive sampling of iron rich surface waters in the Alaskan Arctic. Acidic, iron rich seeps draining from the Brooks Range bring reduced iron downstream into river valleys. In rivers most of the iron is oxidized and precipitates out as iron (oxy)hydroxides. Iron (oxy)hydroxides give the river and surrounding rocks and soils the orange- red color seen in the picture. During storm events the precipitated iron is transported downstream out of the valleys onto the Arctic Plains, where the iron is reduced again by microbes. Upon reoxidation, the reduced iron in the arctic soils and soil waters produces reactive oxygen species that might be important in oxidizing organic carbon present in arctic soils and soil waters.
- Adrianna Trusiak, University of Michigan