MEPS 511:33-39 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10903

Sizing-up nutrient uptake kinetics: combining a physiological trade-off with size-scaling of phytoplankton traits

S. Lan Smith1,2,*, Agostino Merico3,4, Sönke Hohn3, Gunnar Brandt3

1Research Center for Global Change Research, JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama 236-0001, Japan
2CREST (Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology), Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo 102-0076, Japan
3Systems Ecology, ZMT (Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology), Fahrenheitstrasse 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany
4School of Engineering and Science, Jacobs University, Campus Ring 1, 28759 Bremen, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We present a new model for the kinetics of nutrient uptake by phytoplankton, which we derive by combining existing models: (1) a size-based modeling framework that accounts for the effects of extra-cellular diffusive limitation, and (2) a model of optimal resource allocation that maximizes uptake rate subject to a physiological trade-off. We show that the new model, unlike either of its pre-existing components, is able to reproduce the observed range of variation in the half-saturation constant for nitrate uptake as a function of both ambient nitrate concentration and cell size. Our results illustrate that the combination of mechanistic trait-based modeling and physiological trade-offs can greatly advance our understanding of plankton ecology.


KEY WORDS: Phytoplankton · Nutrient uptake kinetics · Size · Trait · Model · Trade-off


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Cite this article as: Smith SL, Merico A, Hohn S, Brandt G (2014) Sizing-up nutrient uptake kinetics: combining a physiological trade-off with size-scaling of phytoplankton traits. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 511:33-39. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10903

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