Strategies among phytoplankton in response to alleviation of nutrient stress in a subtropical gyre

Type Article
Date 2019-12
Language English
Author(s) Lampe Robert H.1, 2, Wang Seaver3, Cassar Nicolas3, 4, Marchetti Adrian2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Integrative Oceanography Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
2 : Department of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
3 : Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
4 : Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin (LEMAR), UMR 6539 UBO/CNRS/IRD/IFREMER, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM), Brest, France
Source Isme Journal (1751-7362) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2019-12 , Vol. 13 , N. 12 , P. 2984-2997
DOI 10.1038/s41396-019-0489-6
WOS© Times Cited 7

Despite generally low primary productivity and diatom abundances in oligotrophic subtropical gyres, the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre (NASG) exhibits significant diatom-driven carbon export on an annual basis. Subsurface pulses of nutrients likely fuel brief episodes of diatom growth, but the exact mechanisms utilized by diatoms in response to these nutrient injections remain understudied within near-natural settings. Here we simulated delivery of subsurface nutrients and compare the response among eukaryotic phytoplankton using a combination of physiological techniques and metatranscriptomics. We show that eukaryotic phytoplankton groups exhibit differing levels of transcriptional responsiveness and expression of orthologous genes in response to release from nutrient limitation. In particular, strategies for use of newly delivered nutrients are distinct among phytoplankton groups. Diatoms channel new nitrate to growth-related strategies while physiological measurements and gene expression patterns of other groups suggest alternative strategies. The gene expression patterns displayed here provide insights into the cellular mechanisms that underlie diatom subsistence during chronic nitrogen-depleted conditions and growth upon nutrient delivery that can enhance carbon export from the surface ocean.

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Publisher's official version 14 2 MB Open access
Supplementary Information 20 2 MB Open access
Dataset S1 10 KB Open access
Dataset S2 73 KB Open access
Dataset S3 189 KB Open access
Dataset S4 1 MB Open access
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