Community-Level Responses to Iron Availability in Open Ocean Plankton Ecosystems

Tara Oceans Coordinators, Luigi Caputi, Quentin Carradec, Damien Eveillard, Amos Kirilovsky, Eric Pelletier, Juan J. Pierella Karlusich, Fabio Rocha Jimenez Vieira, Emilie Villar, Samuel Chaffron, Shruti Malviya, Eleonora Scalco, Silvia G. Acinas, Adriana Alberti, Jean Marc Aury, Anne Sophie Benoiston, Alexis Bertrand, Tristan Biard, Lucie Bittner, Martine BoccaraJennifer R. Brum, Christophe Brunet, Greta Busseni, Anna Carratalà, Hervé Claustre, Luis Pedro Coelho, Sébastien Colin, Salvatore D'Aniello, Corinne Da Silva, Marianna Del Core, Hugo Doré, Stéphane Gasparini, Florian Kokoszka, Jean Louis Jamet, Christophe Lejeusne, Cyrille Lepoivre, Magali Lescot, Gipsi Lima-Mendez, Fabien Lombard, Julius Lukeš, Nicolas Maillet, Mohammed Amin Madoui, Elodie Martinez, Maria Grazia Mazzocchi, Mario B. Néou, Javier Paz-Yepes, Julie Poulain, Simon Ramondenc, Jean Baptiste Romagnan, Simon Roux, Daniela Salvagio Manta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Predicting responses of plankton to variations in essential nutrients is hampered by limited in situ measurements, a poor understanding of community composition, and the lack of reference gene catalogs for key taxa. Iron is a key driver of plankton dynamics and, therefore, of global biogeochemical cycles and climate. To assess the impact of iron availability on plankton communities, we explored the comprehensive bio-oceanographic and bio-omics data sets from Tara Oceans in the context of the iron products from two state-of-the-art global scale biogeochemical models. We obtained novel information about adaptation and acclimation toward iron in a range of phytoplankton, including picocyanobacteria and diatoms, and identified whole subcommunities covarying with iron. Many of the observed global patterns were recapitulated in the Marquesas archipelago, where frequent plankton blooms are believed to be caused by natural iron fertilization, although they are not captured in large-scale biogeochemical models. This work provides a proof of concept that integrative analyses, spanning from genes to ecosystems and viruses to zooplankton, can disentangle the complexity of plankton communities and can lead to more accurate formulations of resource bioavailability in biogeochemical models, thus improving our understanding of plankton resilience in a changing environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-419
Number of pages29
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • iron response
  • meta-omics
  • species networks
  • system biology


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