AME 36:285-291 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/ame036285

A study of the nitrogen stable isotope dynamics of phytoplankton in a simple natural ecosystem

Hideyuki Doi1,*, Eisuke Kikuchi2, Shuichi Shikano2, Shigeto Takagi1

1Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan
2Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8576, Japan

ABSTRACT: We investigated fluctuations in the nitrogen stable isotope ratio (δ15N) of Chlamydomonas acidophila (Chlorophyceae) by short-interval sampling during a bloom that occurred from 11 May to 29 July 2001 in Lake Katanuma, Japan. In this lake, C. acidophila uses NH4+ as the primary inorganic nitrogenous nutrient, since only trace amounts of other inorganic nitrogenous compounds are present. The δ15N values obtained for C. acidophila ranged from -7.8 to -3.4‰ during the study period. The lowest values occurred during periods characterized by high concentrations of NH4+ (>15 μmol l-1), and our results showed that δ15N values for C. acidophila were negatively correlated with concentrations of NH4+. The results suggest that this nutrient plays a major role in the variation of the δ15N value for this species. The nitrogen isotope fraction factor (ε) of C. acidophila was much lower than that of many NH4+-based primary producers from other eutrophic environments.

KEY WORDS: Nitrogen · Stable isotope · Phytoplankton · Isotope fractionation · Inorganic nutrient · Acidic lake · Spring bloom · Lake Katanuma

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