Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Does Iron Limit the Cell Division Rate of the Marine Cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus in the Equatorial Pacific?

EPA Grant Number: U914963
Title: Does Iron Limit the Cell Division Rate of the Marine Cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus in the Equatorial Pacific?
Investigators: Mann, Elizabeth L.
Institution: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
EPA Project Officer: Edwards, Jason
Project Period: January 1, 1996 through January 1, 1999
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1996)
Research Category: Fellowship - Marine Biology , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences



The objective of this research project is to determine if iron limits cyanobacteria productivity in the equatorial Pacific by computing the cell division rates of the marine cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus before and after an in situ fertilization with iron.


The chlorophyll per cell and the forward -angle light scatter (related to cell size) of Prochlorococcus increased inside the iron fertilized patch, but the population size did not. This could result if: (1) iron fertilization had no effect on the cell division rate of Prochlorococcus,; or (2) iron increased the cell division rate, but the grazing rate increased fast enough to keep the population in check. To distinguish between these two possibilities, the cell division rate was determined using the cell cycle analysis method of Carpenter and Chang (Marine Ecology Progress Series 1988,; 43, :105-111). Samples for DNA histograms were taken both before and after the iron fertilization,; cell cycle analysis indicates that Prochlorococcus were dividing almost once a day before the iron was added, and that the cell division rate doubled inside the iron fertilized patch.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, iron, cell division rate, cell cycle analysis, cyanobacteria productivity, chlorophyll.

Top of Page

The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

Jump to main content.