The importance of phytoplankton trait variability in spring bloom formation

Lewandowska, Aleksandra M., Striebel, Maren, Feudel, Ulrike, Hillebrand, Helmut and Sommer, Ulrich (2015) The importance of phytoplankton trait variability in spring bloom formation ICES Journal of Marine Science, 72 (6). pp. 1908-1915. DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsv059.

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About 60 years ago, the critical depth hypothesis was proposed to describe the occurrence of spring phytoplankton blooms and emphasized the role of stratification for the timing of onset. Since then, several alternative hypotheses appeared focusing on the role of grazing and mixing processes such as turbulent convection or wind activity. Surprisingly, the role of community composition—and thus the distribution of phytoplankton traits—for bloom formation has not been addressed. Here, we discuss how trait variability between competing species might influence phytoplankton growth during the onset of the spring bloom. We hypothesize that the bloom will only occur if there are species with a combination of traits fitting to the environmental conditions at the respective location and time. The basic traits for formation of the typical spring bloom are high growth rates and photoadaptation to low light conditions, but other traits such as nutrient kinetics and grazing resistance might also be important. We present concise ideas on how to test our theoretical considerations experimentally. Furthermore, we suggest that future models of phytoplankton blooms should include both water column dynamics and variability of phytoplankton traits to make realistic projections instead of treating the phytoplankton bloom as an aggregate community phenomenon.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000359696500018
Keywords: critical depth, light spectrum, phytoplankton, spring bloom, trait
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1093/icesjms/fsv059
ISSN: 1054-3139
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2015 06:43
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 12:46

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