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

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Abstract

<p>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 show 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 involving different phytoplankton functional groups must not parameterize phytoplankton community growth rate response to nutrient concentration following a Monod equation.</p>

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Regaudie-De-Gioux, A., Sal, S., & López-Urrutia. (2015). Poor correlation between phytoplankton community growth rates and nutrient concentration in the sea. Biogeosciences, 12(6), 1915–1923. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-1915-2015

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