Light effects on phytoplankton morphometric traits influence nutrient utilization ability

Charalampous, Evangelia, Matthiessen, Birte and Sommer, Ulrich (2018) Light effects on phytoplankton morphometric traits influence nutrient utilization ability Journal of Plankton Research, 40 (5). pp. 568-579. DOI 10.1093/plankt/fby037.

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Light and nutrients are essential resources for phytoplankton growth and considered to shape the size structure and other morphometric traits (surface:volume ratio, deviation from spherical shape) of phytoplankton communities. If morphometric traits influence the growth and resource use, shifts by one of the two factors should influence the capability to utilize the other factor. We performed a two-step experiment, where a natural phytoplankton community was first exposed to three different light levels (supposed to be limiting, saturating and slightly inhibiting for the majority of species) and grown until stationary phase. Then, the pre-conditioned communities were split into two nutrient treatments (control and saturating nutrient pulse) and again grown until stationary phase under the medium light intensity. During the experimental light phase, community mean cell-size increased with light, but surface:volume ratio and deviation from spherical shape decreased. Moreover, in response to the following nutrient pulse, the low light pre-conditioned communities showed the highest initial growth rates in response to the nutrient pulse. The high light pre-conditioned communities showed the highest conversion of the nutrient pulse into biomass during the stationary phase. These results demonstrate how the imprint of one environmental factor on trait distribution influences the ability to cope with another.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1093/plankt/fby037
ISSN: 0142-7873
Projects: Dynatrait
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2018 08:14
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2018 08:14

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