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

Journal Article (Journal Article)

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lampe, RH; Wang, S; Cassar, N; Marchetti, A

Published Date

  • December 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 2984 - 2997

PubMed ID

  • 31439897

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6863841

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1751-7370

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1751-7362

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41396-019-0489-6


  • eng