In order to evaluate details of the partitioning behaviours of Y, rare earth elements (REEs), and Ti between inorganic metal oxide surfaces and seawater, we studied the distribution of these elements in hydrogenetic marine ferromanganese (Fe-Mn) crusts from the Central Pacific Ocean. Nonphosphatized Fe-Mn crusts display shale-normalized rare earths and yttrium (REYSN) patterns (Y inserted between Dy and Ho) that are depleted in light REEs (LREEs) and which show negative anomalies for YSN, and positive anomalies for LaSN, EuSN, GdSN, and in most cases, CeSN. They show considerably smaller Y/ Ho ratios than seawater or common igneous and clastic rocks, indicating that Y and Ho are fractionated in the marine environment. Compared to P-poor crusts, REYSN patterns of phosphatized Fe-Mn crusts are similar, but yield pronounced positive YSN anomalies, stronger positive LaSN anomalies, and enrichment of the HREEs relative to the MREEs. The data suggest modification of REY during phosphatization and indicate that studies requiring primary REY distributions or isotopic ratios should be restricted to nonphosphatized (layers of) Fe-Mn crusts. Apparent bulk coefficients, KMD, describing trace metal partitioning between nonphosphatized hydrogenetic Fe-Mn crusts and seawater, are similar for Pr to Eu and decrease for Eu to Yb. Exceptionally high values of KCeD, which are similar to those of Ti, result from oxidative scavenging of Ce and support previous suggestions that Ce(IV) is a hydroxide-dominated element in seawater. Yttrium and Gd show lower KD values than their respective neighbours in the REY series. Results of modelling the exchange equilibrium between REY dissolved in seawater and REY sorbed on hydrous Fe-Mn oxides corroborate previous studies that suggested the surface complexation of REY can be approximated by their first hydroxide binding constant. Negative "anomalies" occur for stabilities of bulk surface complexes of Gd, La, and particularly Y. The differences in inorganic surface complex stability between Y and Ho and between Gd and its REE neighbours are similar to those shown by the stabilities of complexes with aminocarboxylic acids and are significantly larger than those shown by stabilities of complexes with carboxylic acids. Hence, sorption of Y and REEs onto hydrous Fe-Mn oxides may contribute significantly to the positive YSN and GdSN anomalies in seawater.