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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME - Vol. 68 No. 3 - Feature article
X-ray fluorescence maps of P, Fe and Zn in an autotrophic flagellate overlaid on an Xx-ray fluorescence spectrum for the cell. Scale bar = 2 µm. Data collected by B. S. Twining.

Wilhelm SW, King AL, Twining BS, LeCleir GR, DeBruyn JM, Strzepek RF, Breene CL, Pickmere S, Ellwood MJ, Boyd PW, Hutchins DA


Elemental quotas and physiology of a southwestern Pacific Ocean plankton community as a function of iron availability


Phytoplankton carbon fixation in marine surface waters is often tied to the supply of growth limiting elements. To test the plasticity of this relationship, water from a spring bloom off the coast of New Zealand was incubated with a continuum of bioavailable iron concentrations and phytoplankton physiology and cellular elemental quotas were assessed. The results of this study demonstrate that phytoplankton are metabolically plastic, and that concentrations of a single resource can alter the elemental composition of individual cells as well as the bulk community. These results have significant implications for efforts aimed at modeling marine carbon cycles based on estimates of bioavailable nutrients.


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