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Eco-physiological adaptation shapes the response of calcifying algae to nutrient limitation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
2015 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 5, 16499Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The steady increase in global ocean temperature will most likely lead to nutrient limitation in the photic zone. This will impact the physiology of marine algae, including the globally important calcifying coccolithophores. Understanding their adaptive patterns is essential for modelling carbon production in a low-nutrient ocean. We investigated the physiology of Helicosphaera carteri, a representative of the abundant but under-investigated flagellated functional group of coccolithophores. Two strains isolated from contrasting nutrient regimes (South Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea) were grown in phosphorus-replete and phosphorus-limited batch cultures. While growing exponentially in a phosphorus-replete medium, the Mediterranean strain exhibited on average 24% lower growth rate, 36% larger coccosphere volume and 21% lower particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) production than the Atlantic strain. Under phosphorus limitation, the same strain was capable of reaching a 2.6 times higher cell density than the Atlantic strain due to lower phosphorus requirements. These results suggest that local physiological adaptation can define the performance of this species under nutrient limitation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 5, 16499
National Category
Ecology Cell Biology Evolutionary Biology Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-253354DOI: 10.1038/srep16499ISI: 000364487200001PubMedID: 26560531OAI: diva2:814289
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationThe Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Available from: 2015-05-26 Created: 2015-05-26 Last updated: 2016-09-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Phenotypic variation and adaptive strategies in calcifying marine phytoplankton (Coccolithophores)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phenotypic variation and adaptive strategies in calcifying marine phytoplankton (Coccolithophores)
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala universitet, 2015
National Category
Ecology Evolutionary Biology Cell Biology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-253357 (URN)
2015-04-24, Hambergsalen, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 15:34 (English)
Available from: 2015-06-02 Created: 2015-05-26 Last updated: 2016-02-09Bibliographically approved
2. Phenotypic evolution and adaptive strategies in marine phytoplankton (Coccolithophores)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phenotypic evolution and adaptive strategies in marine phytoplankton (Coccolithophores)
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Coccolithophores are biogeochemically important marine algae that interact with the carbon cycle through photosynthesis (CO2 sink), calcification (CO2 source) and burial of carbon into oceanic sediments. The group is considered susceptible to the ongoing climate perturbations, in particular to ocean acidification, temperature increase and nutrient limitation. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the adaptation of coccolithophores to environmental change, with the focus on temperature stress and nutrient limitation. The research was conducted in frame of three approaches: experiments testing the physiological response of coccolithophore species Helicosphaera carteri and Coccolithus pelagicus to phosphorus limitation, field studies on coccolithophore life-cycles with a method comparison and an investigation of the phenotypic evolution of the coccolithophore genus Helicosphaera over the past 15 Ma. Experimental results show that the physiology and morphology of large coccolithophores are sensitive to phosphorus limitation, and that the adaptation to low-nutrient conditions can lead to a decrease in calcification rates. Field studies have contributed to our understanding of coccolithophore life cycles, revealing complex ecological patterns within the Mediterranean community which are seemingly regulated by seasonal, temperature-driven environment changes. In addition, the high-throughput sequencing (HTS) molecular method was shown to provide overall good representation of coccolithophore community composition. Finally, the study on Helicosphaera evolution showed that adaptation to decreasing CO2 in higher latitudes involved cell and coccolith size decrease, whereas the adaptation in tropical ecosystems also included a physiological decrease in calcification rates in response to nutrient limitation. This thesis advanced our understanding of coccolithophore adaptive strategies and will improve our predictions on the fate of the group under ongoing climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 54 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1427
Coccolithophores, Life-Cycle, Phytoplankton, Nutrient limitation, Temperature, Microscopy, High-throughput sequencing, Taxonomy
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302903 (URN)978-91-554-9689-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-28, Hambergsalen, Department of Earth Sciences, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-10-07 Created: 2016-09-12 Last updated: 2016-10-11

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