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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 159:75-79 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps159075

Quantifying interspecific coagulation efficiency of phytoplankton

Jørgen L. S. Hansen1, Thomas Kiørboe2,*

1Marine Biological Laboratory, Strandpromenaden 5, DK-3000 Helsingør, Denmark
2Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Charlottenlund Castle, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
*Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

Non-sticky latex beads and sticky diatoms were used as models to describe mutual coagulation between sticky and non-sticky particles. In mixed suspensions of beads and Thalassiosira nordenskjoeldii, both types of particles coagulated into mixed aggregates at specific rates, from which the interspecific coagulation efficiency could be calculated. Stickiness between beads and T. nordenskjoeldii was 50% of that of T. nordenskjoeldii in monospecific suspensions, and this ratio remained constant throughout 12 experiments covering 1 order of magnitude variation in the stickiness level of T. nordenskjoeldii. Mutual coagulation between Skeletonema costatum and the non-sticky cells of Ditylum brightwellii also proceeded with half the efficiency of S. costatum alone. The latex beads were suitable to be used as 'standard particles' to quantify the ability of phytoplankton to prime aggregation of suspended particles.

Phytoplankton stickiness · Interspecific coagulation

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