Ecophysiological traits explain species dominance patterns in macroalgal blooms.

Lotze, Heike and Schramm, Winfried (2000) Ecophysiological traits explain species dominance patterns in macroalgal blooms. Journal of Phycology (36). pp. 287-295. DOI 10.1046/j.1529-8817.2000.99109.x.

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Macroalgal blooms are a growing environmental problem in eutrophic coastal ecosystems world wide. These blooms are dominated typically by only one out of several co‐occurring opportunistic species, which are all favored by increased nutrient loads. We asked whether pronounced dominance of filamentous Pilayella littoralis Kjellm. (Phaeophyceae) over foliose Enteromorpha intestinalis L. (Chlorophyceae) in the Baltic Sea can be explained by interspecific physiological differences. In laboratory experiments, we analyzed uptake kinetics of nitrate, ammonium, and phosphate and the time dependency of uptake rates for both species. We further examined growth rates and nutrient assimilation in relation to single and combined enrichment with nitrate and phosphate, and three different nitrogen sources. Overall, we did not detect distinct differences in uptake, growth, and assimilation rates between P. littoralis and E. intestinalis. Minor differences and the related advantages for single species are discussed. Highest maximal uptake rates were found for ammonium, followed by nitrate and phosphate. Strong time dependency of uptake occurred, with the highest rates during the first 15 to 30 min. Nitrate enrichment had far more of an effect on growth than phosphate. Enrichment with urea, ammonium, and nitrate significantly increased growth rates without interspecific differences. A larger surface area to volume (SA/V) ratio in Pilayella compared with Enteromorpha did not translate into greater physiological capacity. We conclude that species dominance patterns in macroalgal blooms are not always a direct result of different ecophysiological traits among species. Ecological traits such as susceptibility to herbivory are important factors in determining species distribution in the field.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Institute for Marine Science Kiel
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1046/j.1529-8817.2000.99109.x
ISSN: 0022-3646
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2018 12:54

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