Each of the following phytoplankton functional attributes could be described by significant (P < 0.05) response surfaces defined by trophic status (T) from oligotrophy to hypertrophy and season (S) from early vernal period to late summer: phytoplankton cell volume, growth rate, the ratio between minimum quotas of total N and total P, affinity for P, half-saturation constant for growth with respect to P, and temperature optimum and light optimum for growth. Sinking rate could not be so described. The response surfaces were calculated by multiple regressions, including first- and second-order terms of T and S and the interaction term T . S. Although the data base was rather limited (number of phytoplankton species ranged from 10 to 31), the resulting surfaces often reflected a corresponding attribute of the water along T and S (e.g. phytoplankton temperature optimum for growth reflected water temperature). The results support the frequent use of physical factors as explanatory variables for the distribution and abundance of phytoplankton.
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