SAMS news room

An iron-clad partnership

Critically low levels of iron in seawater are inhibiting the growth of microscopic marine microalgae responsible both for the absorption of carbon dioxide into the oceans and the production of much of the oxygen we breathe.

A study by SAMS researchers and their international collaborators, published online this week by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has revealed a newly-discovered mutualistic relationship. A group of bacteria found in close association with marine microalgae provide them with a highly valuable source of iron.

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