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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 383 - Feature article
Epifluorescence microscope image of heterotrophic protist Oxyrrhis marina with ingested Synechococcus cells (orange). Image: Jude Apple, Shannon Point Marine Centre(

Gutiérrez-Rodríguez A, Latasa M, Mourre B,
Laws EA


Coupling between phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton grazing in dilution experiments: potential artefacts


Serial dilution is a widespread technique that provides simultaneous estimates of phytoplankton growth rate (µ0) and microzooplankton grazing rate (g) in the field. In the ecological model assumed by this approach, µ0 and g are not independent, and thus, interpretation of the frequently reported correlation between both variables is not straightforward. Using Monte-Carlo simulations, Gutierrez-Rodriguez and co-workers demonstrate that the correlation between µ0 and g can be substantially affected by the methodological artefact under certain conditions. They develop a procedure to evaluate the methodological vs. ecological nature of this correlationand show that a true ecological relationship underlies the high correlation observed in a coastal database.


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