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The influence of mesozooplankton on phytoplankton nutrient limitation: A mesocosm study with northeast Atlantic plankton

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56942

Sommer,  Ulrich
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56670

Feuchtmayr,  Heidrun
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sommer, U., Sommer, F., Feuchtmayr, H., & Hansen, T. (2004). The influence of mesozooplankton on phytoplankton nutrient limitation: A mesocosm study with northeast Atlantic plankton. Protist, 155(3), 295-304. doi:10.1078/1434461041844268.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-DA9F-C
Abstract
We used marine phytoplankton from mesocosms seeded with different zooplankton densities to study the impact of mesozooplankton on phytoplankton nutrient limitation. After 7 d of grazing (copepod mesocosms) or 9 d (appendicularian mesocosms) phytoplankton nutrient limitation was studied by enrichment bioassays. After removal of mesozooplankton, bioassay bottles received either no nutrients, phosphorus or nitrogen alone, or a combination of nitrogen and phosphorus and were incubated for 2 d. Phytoplankton reproductive rates in the bottles without nutrient addition were calculated after correction for grazing by ciliates and indicated increasing nitrogen limitation with increasing copepod abundance. No nutrient limitation was found in the appendicularian mesocosms. The increase of nutrient limitation with increasing copepod density seems to be mainly the result of a trophic cascade effect: Copepods released nanoplankton from ciliate grazing pressure, and thereby enhanced nitrogen exhaustion by nanophytoplankton and reduced nitrogen excretion by ciliates. Nitrogen sequestration in copepod biomass, the mechanism predicted by the ecological stoichiometry theory, seems to have been a weaker effect because there was only little copepod growth during the experiment