Differences in physiology explain succession of mixoplankton functional types and affect carbon fluxes in temperate seas

Leles, SG; Bruggeman, J; Polimene, L; Blackford, JC; Flynn, KJ; Mitra, A. 2020 Differences in physiology explain succession of mixoplankton functional types and affect carbon fluxes in temperate seas. Progress in Oceanography, 190. 102481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102481

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102481


Different hypotheses have been proposed explaining plankton community assembly and how changes in biodiversity can impact ecosystem function. Mixoplankton (photo-phago-trophs) are important members of the plankton, butscience lacks a clear understanding of their role in plankton succession. Here, we used a modelling approach to evaluate the seasonalities of mixoplankton functional types (MFTs) and to test the hypothesis that functional differences affect their roles in key carbon fluxes. Functional differences were modelled based on cell size and whether mixoplankton possess their own, or acquire, photosystems. Ecosystem simulations incorporated realistic environmental variability and were validated against a 9 yr long-term time series of nutrients, chlorophyll-a, and plankton data from a coastal temperate sea. Simulations, consistent with empirical data, show that mixoplankton of different sizes are present throughout the water column and over time, with seasonal population dynamics differing among the different MFTs. Importantly, the partitioning of production among different size-classes depends on how mixoplankton functional diversity is described in the model, and that merging mixoplankton into one functional type can mask their diverse ecological roles in carbon cycling. Mixoplankton thus play an important role in structuring the plankton community and its dynamics in the simulations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Ecological model Seasonal succession Ecosystem functioning Carbon cycling Plankton Protists Mixotrophy
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > NMOD-NC modelling
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecosystem Models and Predictions
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 04 Feb 2021 13:30
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2021 13:30
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9113

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