Does low temperature constrain the growth rates of heterotrophic protists? Evidence and implications for algal blooms in cold waters

Rose, Julie M., David A. Caron

Limnol. Oceanogr., 52(2), 2007, 886-895PurchaseDoes low temperature constrain the growth rates of heterotrophic protists? Evidence and implications for algal blooms in cold waters | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.2.0886

ABSTRACT: Literature review and synthesis of growth rates of aquatic protists focused on the role of temperature in the formation of massive annual algal blooms in high-latitude ecosystems. Maximal growth rates of herbivorous protists equaled or exceeded maximal growth rates of phototrophic protists at temperatures above 15°C. Maximal growth rates of herbivorous protists declined more rapidly with decreasing temperature than did those of phototrophic protists, and at the very low temperatures common to high-latitude ecosystems, the maximal growth rates of herbivorous protists were less than half the maximal growth rates of phototrophic protists. Growth rates of herbivorous protists were consistently lower than those of bacterivorous protists and were unrelated to differences in cell volume between the two groups. Linear equations describing the relationship of the natural log of maximal growth rates of bacterivorous and herbivorous protists to temperature were generated and compared to published information for maximal growth rates of phototrophic protists and copepods. The three heterotrophic groups had similar slopes (0.12 for bacterivorous protists, 0.10 for herbivorous protists, and 0.13 for copepods) that were approximately double that of phototrophic protists (0.06). The massive annual algal blooms observed in high latitudes are due in part to a fundamental difference in the relationship between growth and temperature for phototrophic protists and their grazers.

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