Stoichiometric regulation in micro- and mesozooplankton.

Golz, A.-L., Burian, A. and Winder, Monika (2015) Stoichiometric regulation in micro- and mesozooplankton. Open Access Journal of Plankton Research, 37 (2). pp. 293-305. DOI 10.1093/plankt/fbu109.

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Aquatic ecosystems experience large natural variation in elemental composition of carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), which is further enhanced by human activities. Primary producers typically reflect the nutrient ratios of their resource, whose stoichiometric composition can vary widely in conformity to environmental conditions. In contrast, C to nutrient ratios in consumers are largely constrained within a narrow range, termed homeostasis. In comparison to crustacean zooplankton, less is known about the ability of protozoan grazers and rotifer species to maintain stoichiometric balance. In this study, we used laboratory experiments with a primary producer (Nannochloropsis sp.), three different species of protozoan grazers and one mesozooplankton species: two heterotrophic dinoflagellates (Gyrodinium dominans and Oxyrrhis marina), a ciliate (Euplotes sp.) and a rotifer (Brachionus plicatilis) to test the stoichiometric response to five nutrient treatments. We showed that the dependency of zooplankton C:N:P ratios on C: nutrient ratios of their food source varies among species. Similar to the photoautotroph, the two heterotrophic dinoflagellates weakly regulated their internal stoichiometry. In contrast, the strength of stoichiometric regulation increased to strict homeostasis in both the ciliate and the rotifer, similar to crustacean zooplankton. Our study further shows that ciliate and rotifer growth can be constrained by imbalanced resource supply. It also indicates that these key primary consumers have the potential to trophically upgrade poor stoichiometric autotrophic food quality for higher trophic levels.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: homeostasis; nutrient limitation; heterotrophic dinoflagellate; ciliate; rotifer
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press
Projects: BONUS BIO-C3
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2015 13:48
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2020 08:55

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