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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 49:181-194 (2007)  -  DOI:

Effect of B-vitamins (B1, B12) and inorganic nutrients on algal bloom dynamics in a coastal ecosystem

Christopher J. Gobler1,*, Colleen Norman1, Caterina Panzeca1, Gordon T. Taylor1, Sergio A. Sañudo-Wilhelmy2

1School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-5000, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA

ABSTRACT: Vitamins play an integral role in the cellular biochemistry of algae, but the effect of these organic metabolites on the growth and diversity of phytoplankton communities has been poorly studied. We integrated newly developed techniques to directly measure vitamins B1 and B12 with field-based amendment experiments to elucidate the role of B-vitamins in phytoplankton population dynamics in coastal marine environments. Two sites on Long Island, New York, USA, were monitored from spring through fall: the tidal Old Fort Pond (OFP) and the brackish Peconic River (PR) estuary. Vitamin B12 levels were similar between sites (OFP: 1.6 to 21 pM; PR: 1.6 to 17 pM) and were significantly correlated with bacterial densities, dissolved organic nitrogen and dissolved organic phosphorus at OFP, suggesting that B12 behaves like regenerated organic nutrients. Concentrations of vitamin B1 were substantially higher in the freshwater dominated site (PR: 12 to 190 pM; OFP: 9 to 43 pM) and were inversely correlated with salinity, suggesting that rivers and groundwater may be an important source of vitamin B1. During dinoflagellate blooms (>104 cells ml–1), occurring in late summer and early fall, vitamin B12 and B1 levels in PR decreased 90% relative to pre-bloom levels, while levels temporarily increased to seasonal maxima in OFP, likely reflecting vitamin synthesis and/or regeneration by microbial communities. Nutrient amendment experiments conducted at both sites during summer demonstrated that algal communities were primarily N-limited, while those conducted during early fall showed that vitamins B1 and B12 were each capable of significantly enhancing the biomass of larger phytoplankton (>5 µm). The autumnal shift in phytoplankton communities from dinoflagellates to diatoms, as vitamin levels became depleted and algal communities were limited by vitamin B12, suggests that B-vitamins may influence the succession of coastal phytoplankton.

KEY WORDS: B-vitamins · Phytoplankton · Harmful algal blooms · Inorganic nutrients

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Cite this article as: Gobler CJ, Norman C, Panzeca C, Taylor GT, Sañudo-Wilhelmy SA (2007) Effect of B-vitamins (B1, B12) and inorganic nutrients on algal bloom dynamics in a coastal ecosystem. Aquat Microb Ecol 49:181-194.

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