Two ISblue professors recognised for their research on silicon in the ocean

Following the publication of an article on silicon in the journal Biogeosciences, the French daily newspaper Le Télégramme headlines “The IUEM of Plouzané at the forefront of the world on silicon in the ocean. “

An international research group led by Paul Tréguer and Jill Sutton from the LEMAR laboratory at IUEM, in cooperation with researchers from Germany, England, Spain, the United States and China have just published in the journal Biogeosciences a summary article on the cycle of silicon in the modern ocean.

In a quarter of a century, this is the third review article piloted by IUEM researchers which thus confirms its role as world leader on this scientific subject (article references: Tréguer et al. Science, 268, 375-379 (1995): 1518 quotations ; Tréguer & De La Rocha, Annual Review of Marine Sciences, 5, 477-501 (2013): 515 quotations.)

This study shows that the inputs of silicon into the ocean (due to rivers, resurgences, hydrothermal activity, dissolution of siliceous rocks, winds, etc.) are currently balanced by bio-deposits in the sediments.

Three glass-shelled marine organisms: a diatom (credit: Aude Leynaert, IUEM); a rhizaire (credit: Natalia LLopis Monferrer, IUEM) and
a siliceous sponge (credit: Lauvent Chauvaud, CNRS).

However, the silicon cycle is, like that of carbon, subject to strong pressures from human activities (climate change, construction of dams on rivers, agricultural practices which cause soil erosion).

During the 21st century, these disturbances could strongly affect the production of siliceous organisms and unbalance the global cycle of silicon.

Jill Sutton and Paul Tréguer launched last year, with the support of ISblue, an online “Silica School” entitled: “Silica: from stardust to the living world“. This school is attended by researchers from 30 research institutes and universities from 12 different countries.