The effects of absolute and relative nutrient concentrations (N/P) on phytoplankton in a subtropical reservoir

Luigi Naselli Flores, Bo-Ping Han, Jingyun Pan, Yang Yang

Risultato della ricerca: Article

Abstract

The elemental composition of phytoplankton is a critical factor for primary production and nutrient recycling. The increase anthropogenic nutrient input into freshwater ecosystems is affecting phytoplankton assemblage structure and its stoichiometry. Reservoirs of South China generally show low level of phosphate and it is not clear how phytoplankton can grow and occasionally bloom in such conditions. Therefore, an indoor experiment was conducted to investigate the response of natural phytoplankton communities to 25 levels of supplied nitrogen to phosphorus ratios (N/P), arising from the combination of 5 levels of N and P. Our aim was to check the effects of absolute and relative N and P on phytoplankton growth and structure. We assumed that Alkaline Phosphatase (APA) provides a way to use alternative P resource. Our hypotheses include: (1) phytoplankton stoichiometry would be in homeostasis (sensu Sterner & Elser, 2002) under different N and P treatments; (2) absolute nutrient values rather than its ratio matters for phytoplankton assemblage; and (3) phytoplankton cell size declines to lower P requirements facing P limitation. Results showed that phytoplankton in this subtropical reservoir use alternative P sources via APA to support its growth. The absolute values of N and P instead and not their ratios were important for phytoplankton. The N/P ratio cannot be a reliable indicator for nutrient limitation or phytoplankton shift. During the fast-growing phase, their elemental contents were not sensitive to supplied nutrients, and their stoichiometry was more constrained compared to that in slow-growing phase. The plasticity of cellular stoichiometry was mainly due to the variations of cellular P. Phytoplankton stoichiometry was weakly homeostatic, and this mechanism provides a strategy to keep growth relatively stable in a variable nutrient environment.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-9
Numero di pagine9
RivistaEcological Indicators
Volume115
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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