Effect of temperature on diatom volume, growth rate, and carbon and nitrogen content: Reconsidering some paradigms

Montagnes, David J. S., Daniel J. Franklin

Limnol. Oceanogr., 46(8), 2001, 2008-2018 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2001.46.8.2008

ABSTRACT: We examined the response of diatoms to naturally experienced temperatures and tested these hypotheses: (1) diatoms follow the rule that organism size decreases with increasing temperature; (2) diatom growth rate follows a Q10-like response; (3) diatom carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) content per unit volume (V) decrease with increasing size, and changes in temperature affect this relationship; and (4) diatom C:V is the same as that of other phytoplankton. We also present, as predictive equations, relationships between (1) growth rate, temperature, and size; (2) C content and V; and (3) N content and V. Eight diatoms and two flagellates were acclimated for approximately five generations and grown for approximately five more generations at five temperatures (9-25°C) on a 14 : 10 light : dark cycle at ~50

µmol photons m-2 s-1. Growth rate, cell V, and C and N content per cell were measured; relationships between these parameters and temperature were determined. For five diatoms and both flagellates, cell V decreased with increasing temperature; cells decrease by ~4% of their mean V per °C. Growth rate appeared to increase linearly with temperature in all cases. The literature suggests that a linear response is the rule, not the exception. Temperature did not significantly affect C or N per V of diatom species. When all diatoms were considered, both C and N per V decreased with increasing cell size; our data support the argument that diatoms differ from other protists in this respect, but the difference is less pronounced than stated in previous reports.

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