Modelling a light-driven phytoplankton succession

Polimene, L, Brunet, C, Butenschon, M, Martinez-Vicente, V, Widdicombe, CE, Torres, R and Allen, JI 2014 Modelling a light-driven phytoplankton succession. Journal of Plankton Research, 36 (1). 214-229.

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We used a numerical model to investigate if and to what extent cellular photoprotective capacity accounts for succession and vertical distribution of marine phytoplankton species/groups. A model describing xanthophyll photoprotective activity in phytoplankton has been implemented in the European Regional Sea Ecosystem Model and applied at the station L4 in the Western English Channel. Primary producers were subdivided into three phytoplankton functional types defined in terms of their capacity to acclimate to different light-specific environments: low light (LL-type), high light (HL-type) and variable light (VL-type) adapted species. The LL-type is assumed to have low cellular level of xanthophyll-cycling pigments (PX) relative to the modelled photosynthetically active pigments (chlorophyll and fucoxanthin (FUCO) = PSP). The HL-type has high PX content relative to PSP while VL-type presents an intermediate PX to PSP ratio. Furthermore, the VL-type is capable of reversibly converting FUCO to PX and synthesizing new PX under high-light stress. In order to reproduce phytoplankton community succession with each of the three groups being dominant in different periods of the year, we had also to assume reduced grazing pressure on HL-adapted species. Model simulations realistically reproduce the observed seasonal patterns of pigments and nutrients highlighting the reasonability of the underpinning assumptions. Our model suggests that pigment-mediated photophysiology plays a primary role in determining the evolution of marine phytoplankton communities in the winter-spring period corresponding to the shoaling of the mixed layer and the increase of light intensity. Grazing selectivity however contributes to the phytoplankton community composition in summer.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: phytoplankton succession; photoprotection; xanthophyll-cycling pigments; marine ecosystem models
Subjects: Computer Science
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine System Modelling
Depositing User: Ricardo Torres
Date made live: 10 Jun 2014 15:17
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 12:21

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