Effects of increases in temperature and nutrients on phytoplankton community structure and photosynthesis in the Western English Channel

Xie, Y, Tilstone, GH, Widdicombe, CL, Woodward, EMS, Harris, C and Barnes, MKS 2015 Effects of increases in temperature and nutrients on phytoplankton community structure and photosynthesis in the Western English Channel. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 519. 61-73. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11101

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Anthropogenic climate change is exerting pressures on coastal ecosystems through increases in temperature, precipitation and ocean acidification. Phytoplankton community structure and photo-physiology are therefore adapting to these conditions. Changes in phytoplankton biomass and photosynthesis in relation to temperature and nutrient concentrations were assessed using a 14 year dataset from a coastal station in the Western English Channel (WEC). Dinoflagellate and coccolithophorid biomass exhibited a positive correlation with temperature, reaching the highest biomass at between 15 and 17°C. Diatoms showed a negative correlation with temperature, with highest biomass at 10°C. Chlorophyll a (chl a) normalised light-saturated photosynthetic rates (PBm) exhibited a hyperbolic response to increasing temperature, with an initial linear increase from 8 to 11°C, and reaching a plateau from 12°C. There was however no significant positive correlation between nutrients and phytoplankton biomass or PBm, which reflects the lag time between nutrient input and phytoplankton growth at this coastal site. The major phytoplankton groups that occurred at this site occupied distinct thermal niches, which in turn modified PBm. Increasing temperature, and higher water column stratification, was major factors in the initiation of dinoflagellates blooms at this site. Dinoflagellates blooms during summer also co-varied with silicate concentration, and acted as a tracer of dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphate from river run-off, which were subsequently reduced during these blooms. The data implies that increasing temperature and high river runoff during summer, will promote dinoflaglellates blooms in the WEC.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Temperature, Nutrients, Eutrophication, Phytoplankton community structure, Photosynthesis, Western English Channel
Subjects: Biology
Data and Information
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Western Channel Observatory
Depositing User: Gavin Tilstone
Date made live: 09 Feb 2015 14:48
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:56
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/6325

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