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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 626:29-42 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13077

Role of vitamin B12 in the microbial plankton response to nutrient enrichment

Esther Barber-Lluch1,2,*, Marta Hernández-Ruiz1,2, Antero Prieto1,2, Emilio Fernández1,2, Eva Teira1,2

1Grupo de Oceanografía Biolóxica, Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, 36310 Universidade de Vigo, Spain
2Estación de Ciencias Mariñas de Toralla, ECIMAT, 36331 Universidade de Vigo, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In order to evaluate the role of vitamin B12 availability in microbial plankton communities, 10 microcosm experiments were performed in which inorganic nutrients (nitrate, ammonium and phosphate) and vitamin B12 were added, separately or in combination, to surface seawater samples drawn from an on-shelf station over an annual cycle. The responses of both autotrophic and heterotrophic microbial plankton were highly variable. Vitamin B12 addition enhanced phytoplankton biomass in early spring (March and April) and autumn (October) and bacterial biomass in winter (January) and summer (June and September). Our data reinforce the idea that inorganic nutrient limitation experienced by autotrophic and heterotrophic microbial communities is mostly dependent on the initial background nutrient conditions. The single (addition of vitamin B12 alone) or secondary vitamin B12 limitation (combined with inorganic nutrients) of phytoplankton growth implies that the availability of this molecule might modulate the increase in primary production associated with enhanced nitrogen loads to the ocean derived from human activities. These findings may have significant implications for our understanding of carbon and nutrient cycling through the planktonic microbial compartments of coastal ecosystems.


KEY WORDS: Vitamin B12 · Nutrient addition · Limitation · Competition · Phytoplankton · Bacterioplankton


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Cite this article as: Barber-Lluch E, Hernández-Ruiz M, Prieto A, Fernández E, Teira E (2019) Role of vitamin B12 in the microbial plankton response to nutrient enrichment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 626:29-42. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13077

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