AME 66:223-236 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01577

Sensitivity of Trichodesmium erythraeum and Crocosphaera watsonii abundance and N2 fixation rates to varying NO3 and PO43− concentrations in batch cultures

Angela N. Knapp1,*, Julien Dekaezemacker2, Sophie Bonnet2, Jill A. Sohm3, Douglas G. Capone3

1Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
2Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, UMR IRD—Aix-Marseille II University - CNRS, Marseille Cedex 9, France
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA

ABSTRACT: Batch cultures of Trichodesmium erythraeum, strain IMS101, and Crocosphaera watsonii, strain WH8501, were grown under metal- and vitamin-replete conditions to evaluate differences in diazotroph abundance and N2 fixation rates as well as biomass C:N:P ratios resulting from changes in the concentrations of nitrate (NO3) and phosphate (PO43−) in culture media. Holding light levels and temperature constant, variations in culture NO3 and PO43− concentrations included (N:P ratios in µM) 0:0.5, 5:1, 8:0.5, and 16:1. The abundance of both diazotrophs was greatest in the 16:1 and 5:1 N:P ratio treatments (i.e. those grown with 1 µM PO43−) while the highest N2 fixation rates for both diazotrophs were observed in the 0:0.5 treatment (i.e. those grown in NO3-free media). Measurable but reduced (~25 to 50% of the rates in cultures grown with no NO3) N2 fixation rates were evident in both T. erythraeum and C. watsonii cultures grown with up to 16 µM NO3. These results indicate that while diazotrophs grown in the presence of NO3 have significantly lower N2 fixation rates than those not chronically exposed to NO3, these lower per cell N2 fixation rates are compensated for by a greater abundance of diazotrophs in treatments with 1 µM PO43− and result in comparable volume-integrated rates of N2 fixation. Additionally, N2 fixation rates for T. erythraeum and C. watsonii were comparable when normalized to carbon (biomass). Finally, the exponential-phase C:N:P biomass ratios of both diazotrophs were similar to each other as well as to previous studies and varied little among the treatments but increased, often significantly, between exponential and stationary growth phases.


KEY WORDS: N2 fixation · Trichodesmium · Crocosphaera · Inhibition · C:N:P ratio


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Cite this article as: Knapp AN, Dekaezemacker J, Bonnet S, Sohm JA, Capone DG (2012) Sensitivity of Trichodesmium erythraeum and Crocosphaera watsonii abundance and N2 fixation rates to varying NO3 and PO43− concentrations in batch cultures. Aquat Microb Ecol 66:223-236. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01577

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