Responses of estuarine and coastal marine phytoplankton to nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment

Smith, Val H.

Limnol. Oceanogr., 51(1_part_2), 2006, 377-384 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2006.51.1_part_2.0377

ABSTRACT: A cross-ecosystem comparison of data obtained from 92 coastal zone ecosystems worldwide revealed a strong positive response of marine phytoplankton biomass to nutrient enrichment that is highly consistent with the general patterns reported previously in the limnological literature for freshwater lakes and reservoirs. Average concentrations of chlorophyll a in estuarine and coastal marine systems were strongly dependent on the mean concentrations of total nitrogen and total phosphorus in the water column. Moreover, as is true of freshwater ecosystems, the identity of the primary growth-limiting nutrient for marine phytoplankton appeared to be generally predictable from watercolumn total nitrogen : total phosphorus (TN : TP) ratios. This similarity in physiological response to nutrients likely derives from the shared evolutionary histories of marine and freshwater phytoplankton.

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