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Size Dependent Competition in Centric Diatoms as a Function of Nitrogen and Silicon Availability

Author(s): Paul D. van Ruth | Jian G. Qin | Alan J. Branford

Journal: Open Journal of Marine Science
ISSN 2161-7384

Volume: 02;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 33;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Diatoms | Size-Dependence | Nutrient Competition | Nitrogen | Silica

Size dependent competition was examined in two marine centric diatoms, Coscinodiscus sp. and Thalassiosira rotula at various, and Si concentrations. The growth responses for both species to nutrient levels were evaluated using two forms of nitrogen (NH4 and NO3) and silicon in both monoculture and mixed culture conditions. Under single species culture, the impact of Si did not depend on N forms for both diatoms. The increase of NH4-N enhanced the growth of Coscinodiscus, but did not affect T. rotula. When NO3-N was the nitrogen source, cell densities of both species were significantly enhanced by increasing Si concentrations, but only T. rotula density was affected by increasing N concentration. When Coscinodiscus sp. and T. rotula grew in the same culture, Coscinodiscus sp. dominated in both N forms. The scale of the dominance of Coscinodiscus sp. over T. rotula increased with decreasing N and Si concentrations. In the competition experiment, when was the N source, both Coscinodiscus sp. and T. rotula were signifi- cantly affected by changes in N concentration, but only T. rotula was affected by Si. When NO3 was the N source, neither Coscinodiscus sp. nor T. rotula was affected by Si, but T. rotula was enhanced by N levels. Regardless the N form, the impact of Si on neither Coscinodiscus sp. nor T. rotula depended on N concentration. Our results indicate that large diatom species have a competitive advantage over small species, and both large and small species were sensitive to NH4-N limitation, but the small species was more sensitive to NO3-N limitation than the large species.
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