"We need to understand where iron is in the ocean and where it's coming from to understand the role of iron in the marine carbon cycle with any confidence," Saito says.
Saito and his colleagues hope future studies will reveal the exact shape and extent of the plume, and just how much of its iron and other micronutrients persist and rise to the surface. Answering these lingering questions will help researchers truly understand how hydrothermal vents affect the ocean as a whole, Saito says.
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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution