Articles | Volume 5, issue 3
07 May 2008
 | 07 May 2008

Effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on small and intermediate sized osmotrophs during a nutrient induced phytoplankton bloom

A. I. Paulino, J. K. Egge, and A. Larsen

Abstract. We report the transient population dynamic response of the osmotrophic community initiated by a nutrient pulse in mesocosms exposed to different pCO2 levels. Differences in phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria abundances associated with the CO2 treatment are also described. Coastal seawater was enclosed in floating mesocosms (27 m3) and nutrients were supplied initially in order to stimulate growth of microbial organisms, including the coccolitophorid Emiliania huxleyi. The mesocosms were modified to achieve 350 μatm (1×CO2), 700 μatm (2×CO2) and 1050 μatm (3×CO2) CO2 pressure. The temporal dynamics was related to nutrient conditions in the enclosures. Numerically small osmotrophs (picoeukaryotes and Synechoccocus sp.) dominated initially and towards the end of the experiment, whereas intermediate sized osmotrophs bloomed as the initial bloom of small sized osmotrophs ceased. Maximum concentrations of E. huxleyi were approximately 4.6×103 cells ml−1 whereas other intermediate sized osmotrophs reached approximately twice as high concentrations. The osmotrophic succession pattern did not change, and neither were we able to detect differences with regard to presence or absence of specific osmotrophic taxa as a consequence of altered pCO2. Towards the end of the experiment we did, however, record significantly higher picoeukaryotic- and lower Synechococcus-abundances in the higher CO2 treatments. Slightly increased cell concentrations of E. huxleyi and other nanoeukaryotes were also recorded at elevated pCO2 on certain days.

Final-revised paper