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Volume 12, issue 6
Biogeosciences, 12, 1915–1923, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-1915-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 12, 1915–1923, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-1915-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Reviews and syntheses 24 Mar 2015

Reviews and syntheses | 24 Mar 2015

Poor correlation between phytoplankton community growth rates and nutrient concentration in the sea

A. Regaudie-de-Gioux1,*, S. Sal1, and Á. López-Urrutia1 A. Regaudie-de-Gioux et al.
  • 1Instituto Oceanografico Español, Avenida Principe de Asturias 70bis, 33212 Gijón, Spain
  • *Present address: Centro de Biologia Marinha, Rodovia Manoel Hypolito do Rego km 131.5, Praia do Cabelo Gordo, São Sebastiao, 11600-000, Brazil

Abstract. Nutrient availability is one of the major factors regulating marine productivity and phytoplankton community structure. While the response of phytoplankton species to nutrient variation is relatively well known, that of phytoplankton community remains unclear. We question whether phytoplankton community growth rates respond to nutrient concentration in a similar manner to phytoplankton species composing the community, that is, following Monod's model. Data on in situ marine community growth rates in relation to nutrient concentration and the behaviour of a simple multi-species community model suggest that community growth rate does not respond to nutrient concentration according to the Monod equation. Through a simulation study we show this can be explained as a consequence of changes in size structure. Marine biogeochemical models must not parameterize phytoplankton community growth rate response to nutrient concentration using a single Monod equation but rather involve different phytoplankton functional groups each with different equation parameters.

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We question here is whether phytoplankton community growth rates respond to nutrient concentration in a similar manner to phytoplankton species composing the community, that is, following Monod's model. In situ marine community growth rates in relation to nutrient concentration and the behaviour of a simple multi-species community model show that community growth rate does not follow Monod's model. We observed here that this can be explained as a consequence of change in size structure.
We question here is whether phytoplankton community growth rates respond to nutrient...
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