Latitudinal Variation in Plankton Traits and Ecosystem Function

Chakraborty, S, Cadier, M, Visser, AW, Bruggeman, J and Andersen, KH 2020 Latitudinal Variation in Plankton Traits and Ecosystem Function. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 34 (8). 1-25.

Chakraborty et al. - 2020 - Latitudinal Variation in Plankton Traits and Ecosystem Function.pdf - Published Version
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Planktonic ecosystems are usually modeled in terms of autotrophic and heterotrophic compartments. However, the trophic strategy of unicellular organisms can take a range of mixotrophic strategies with both autotrophic and heterotrophic contributions. The dominant emerging strategy found in nature depends on the environment (both biotic and abiotic aspects) and the cell size and influences key ecosystem functions like trophic transfer and carbon export. Ecosystem models that faithfully represent this diversity of trophic strategies are lacking. Here we develop a trait‐based model of unicellular plankton with cell size as the master trait and three other traits that determine trophic strategies: investments in photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, and phagotrophy. This unicellular model spans the entire auto‐ mixohererotrophic strategy continuum and the entire size range of unicellular organisms. The model reproduces observed latitudinal patterns in biomass, primary productivity, vertical carbon export, and energy transfer efficiency; all increase with increasing latitude. The size range of mixotrophic cells is independent of the season at low latitudes. At high latitudes, the dominance of pure phototrophs during early spring restricts mixotrophic behavior to a narrower range of cell sizes and with the occurrence of relatively smaller mixotrophs during summer. The model's ability to adapt to different environmental conditions, combined with its simple conceptual structure and low number of parameters and state variables(10),makes it ideally suited for global simulation studies under changing environmental conditions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Correspondence to: S. Chakraborty,
Additional Keywords: Key Points: • We design a general model of unicellular plankton based on size and optimization of trophic strategy traits • Weuse themodel to predicthow the seasonal forcing at different latitudes shapes ecosystem structure and ecosystem functions. • The adaptive nature of the model makes it particularly well suited for global‐scale simulations
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine System Modelling
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 29 Sep 2020 08:59
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 12:21

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