Global patterns of phytoplankton nutrient and light colimitation inferred from an optimality-based model.

Arteaga, Lionel, Pahlow, Markus and Oschlies, Andreas (2014) Global patterns of phytoplankton nutrient and light colimitation inferred from an optimality-based model. Open Access Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 28 (7). pp. 648-661. DOI 10.1002/2013GB004668.

gbc20173.pdf - Published Version

Download (12Mb) | Preview

Supplementary data:


The widely used concept of constant ”Redfield” phytoplankton stoichiometry is often applied for estimating which nutrient limits phytoplankton growth in the surface ocean. Culture experiments, in contrast, show strong relations between growth conditions and cellular stoichiometry with often substantial deviations from Redfield stoichiometry. Here we investigate to what extent both views agree by analyzing remote sensing and in situ data with an optimality-based model of nondiazotrophic phytoplankton growth in order to infer seasonally varying patterns of colimitation by light, nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) in the global ocean. Our combined model-data analysis suggests strong N and N-P colimitation in the tropical ocean, seasonal light, and N-P colimitation in the Northern Hemisphere, and strong light limitation only during winter in the Southern Ocean. The eastern equatorial Pacific appears as the only ocean area that is essentially not limited by N, P, or light. Even though our optimality-based approach specifically accounts for flexible stoichiometry, inferred patterns of N and P limitation are to some extent consistent with those obtained from an analysis of surface inorganic nutrients with respect to the Redfield N:P ratio. Iron is not part of our analysis, implying that we cannot accurately predict N cell quotas in high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll regions. Elsewhere, we do not expect a major effect of iron on the relative distribution of N, P, and light colimitation areas. The relative importance of N, P, and light in limiting phytoplankton growth diagnosed here by combining observations and an optimal growth model provides a useful constraint for models used to predict future marine biological production under changing environmental conditions.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/282723
Additional Information: WOS:000340609800002
Keywords: phytoplankton; nutrient; light; growth; colimitation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754 > B2
OceanRep > SFB 754
OceanRep > SFB 754 > B1
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1002/2013GB004668
ISSN: 0886-6236
Projects: SFB754, SPACE, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2014 10:01
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 23:47

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...