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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 488 - Feature article
Phytoplankton communities are rich in species (pictured are diatoms and dinoflagellates from Ría de Vigo), but commonly used methods may have underestimated their true diversity. Photo: I. G. Teixeira

Cermeño P, Rodríguez-Ramos T, Dornelas M, Figueiras FG, Marañón E, Teixeira IG, Vallina S


Species richness in marine phytoplankton communities is not correlated to ecosystem productivity


Marine phytoplankton communities in ecosystems of low productivity are often undersampled, due to the large pool of species with low population density. Rarefaction provides a means to standardize sampling effort to a fixed number of individuals counted per site, allowing meaningful comparisons of community diversity across ecosystems. Cermeño and co-workers show that standardized estimates of phytoplankton species richness are not correlated to ecosystem productivity, suggesting that diversity and productivity are not linked mechanistically. This underlines the necessity of improving sampling design to delineate the patterns of phytoplankton diversity and elucidate the underlying mechanisms.


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