The 30th Annual Plymouth Marine Science Lecture will take place on the 2nd of November at the Plymouth University. The topic will be 'Metals in seawater: critical, toxic and changing' and the speaker is Professor Gideon Henderson.
Many metals are present in seawater at vanishing low concentrations, but these trace elements are nevertheless critical to the ocean system. Some, such as Fe, Mn, Co, and Zn, are required by biology, so govern the amount and type of life in the ocean. Some are toxic (Cd, Cu, Pb and Hg, for instance) so that human-induced change in their concentrations represents a future threat. And some are powerful tracers shedding light on modern ocean processes and on past climate change.
The last decade has seen a revolution in our understanding of the cycling of these trace metals, driven by co-ordinated measurements across the global ocean. This talk will introduce the scientific and logistical challenges of this advance, and highlight some of the key discoveries of recent years, particularly those from the GEOTRACES programme. Examples will include research in the South Atlantic to quantify the cycle of Fe, and the use of Cd isotopes to assess toxicity of that metal.