The amazing morphological diversity of phytoplankton has to be considered an evolutionarily driven compendium of strategies to cope with the strong variability and unpredictability of the pelagic environment. Phytoplankton collects unicellular and colonial photosynthetic organisms adapted to live in apparent suspension in turbulent water masses. Turbulence represents a key driver of phytoplankton dynamics in all aquatic ecosystems and phytoplankton morphological variability is the evolutionary response of this group of photosynthetic organisms to the temporal and spatial scales of variability of turbulence. This paper reviews the existing literature on the effects exerted by turbulence on phytoplankton populations and is aimed at showing how deeply turbulence contributes to the shape and size structure of phytoplankton assemblages. Our aim is to explore how turbulence governs phytoplankton access to resources and, at the same time, how the shape and size structure of phytoplankton represent the evolutionary way in which this group of organisms has optimised its survival in the highly dynamic aquatic environment. The paper is intended to serve as an homage to the (phytoplankton) ecologist Colin S. Reynolds. His life-long work highlighted how profoundly the ecology of phytoplankton depends on the physical constraints governing the movements of the water masses in which phytoplankton evolved and lives.
|Numero di pagine||24|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2021|
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