This article presents a scientific overview of the biogeo-chemical cycling of iron in the ocean, focusing in particular on what is currently known about the importance of this element as a micronutrient for the growth of oceanic phytoplankton. The first section focuses on the basic biochemistry of iron in phytoplankton metabolism, followed by consideration of the biogeochemistry of this element and how this affects its chemical speciation and bioavailability. The remaining sections deal with large-

scale experiments involving iron enrichment in the ocean and the mechanisms that phytoplankton have developed to acquire iron for metabolic processes.

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