POINTS OF PRIDE
This page is dedicated to celebrating the history and legacy of MLML
Perhaps the most famous piece of MLML history is Dr. John Martin’s Iron Hypothesis
"with half a ship load of iron...I could give you an ice age" (John Martin, 1988)
In the 1980’s, MLML’s former Director and oceanographer John Martin, proposed that iron added to regions of the ocean that are otherwise rich in nutrients but poor in chlorophyll (so-called high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll, or HNLC, regions) can stimulate the growth of phytoplankton. This discovery is considered one of the most significant oceanographic discoveries in the past 50 years*. Thanks to Martin's iron hypothesis, scientists now know iron supply to the oceans was a key factor controlling climate over many glacial, interglacial cycles.
Martin, JH, RM Gordon, and SE Fitzwater. 1991. The case for iron. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36:1793-1802
*The National Science Foundation’s book on Accomplishments in Oceanography, 1950 – 2000 listed the Iron Hypothesis as one of the top 3 discoveries of this time. So, they were looking back 50 years, a time that included the discovery of hydrothermal vents and the discovery of plate tectonics (the other two most important discoveries) also substantially transforming accomplishments.