Trophic strategies of unicellular plankton

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2017Researchpeer-review

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Trophic strategies of unicellular plankton. / Chakraborty, Subhendu; Nielsen, Lasse Tor; Andersen, Ken Haste.

In: American Naturalist, Vol. 189, No. 4, 2017, p. E77-E90.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2017Researchpeer-review

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@article{f1b32a72c55f4f929437f4812200b4de,
title = "Trophic strategies of unicellular plankton",
abstract = "Unicellular plankton employ trophic strategies ranging from pure photoautotrophs over mixotrophy to obligate heterotrophs (phagotrophs), with cell sizes from 10-8 to 1 μg C. A full understanding of how trophic strategy and cell size depend on resource environment and predation is lacking. To this end, we develop and calibrate a trait-based model for unicellular planktonic organisms characterized by four traits: cell size and investments in phototrophy, nutrient uptake, and phagotrophy. We use the model to predict how optimal trophic strategies depend on cell size under various environmental conditions, including seasonal succession. We identify two mixotrophic strategies: generalist mixotrophs investing in all three investment traits and obligate mixotrophs investing only in phototrophy and phagotrophy. We formulate two conjectures: (1) most cells are limited by organic carbon; however, small unicellulars are colimited by organic carbon and nutrients, and only large photoautotrophs and smaller mixotrophs are nutrient limited; (2) trophic strategy is bottom-up selected by the environment, while optimal size is top-down selected by predation. The focus on cell size and trophic strategies facilitates general insights into the strategies of a broad class of organisms in the size range from micrometers to millimeters that dominate the primary and secondary production of the world's oceans.",
keywords = "mixotrophy, plankton size, seasonal succession, trait-based model",
author = "Subhendu Chakraborty and Nielsen, {Lasse Tor} and Andersen, {Ken Haste}",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1086/690764",
language = "English",
volume = "189",
pages = "E77--E90",
journal = "American Naturalist",
issn = "0003-0147",
publisher = "University of Chicago Press",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Trophic strategies of unicellular plankton

AU - Chakraborty, Subhendu

AU - Nielsen, Lasse Tor

AU - Andersen, Ken Haste

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Unicellular plankton employ trophic strategies ranging from pure photoautotrophs over mixotrophy to obligate heterotrophs (phagotrophs), with cell sizes from 10-8 to 1 μg C. A full understanding of how trophic strategy and cell size depend on resource environment and predation is lacking. To this end, we develop and calibrate a trait-based model for unicellular planktonic organisms characterized by four traits: cell size and investments in phototrophy, nutrient uptake, and phagotrophy. We use the model to predict how optimal trophic strategies depend on cell size under various environmental conditions, including seasonal succession. We identify two mixotrophic strategies: generalist mixotrophs investing in all three investment traits and obligate mixotrophs investing only in phototrophy and phagotrophy. We formulate two conjectures: (1) most cells are limited by organic carbon; however, small unicellulars are colimited by organic carbon and nutrients, and only large photoautotrophs and smaller mixotrophs are nutrient limited; (2) trophic strategy is bottom-up selected by the environment, while optimal size is top-down selected by predation. The focus on cell size and trophic strategies facilitates general insights into the strategies of a broad class of organisms in the size range from micrometers to millimeters that dominate the primary and secondary production of the world's oceans.

AB - Unicellular plankton employ trophic strategies ranging from pure photoautotrophs over mixotrophy to obligate heterotrophs (phagotrophs), with cell sizes from 10-8 to 1 μg C. A full understanding of how trophic strategy and cell size depend on resource environment and predation is lacking. To this end, we develop and calibrate a trait-based model for unicellular planktonic organisms characterized by four traits: cell size and investments in phototrophy, nutrient uptake, and phagotrophy. We use the model to predict how optimal trophic strategies depend on cell size under various environmental conditions, including seasonal succession. We identify two mixotrophic strategies: generalist mixotrophs investing in all three investment traits and obligate mixotrophs investing only in phototrophy and phagotrophy. We formulate two conjectures: (1) most cells are limited by organic carbon; however, small unicellulars are colimited by organic carbon and nutrients, and only large photoautotrophs and smaller mixotrophs are nutrient limited; (2) trophic strategy is bottom-up selected by the environment, while optimal size is top-down selected by predation. The focus on cell size and trophic strategies facilitates general insights into the strategies of a broad class of organisms in the size range from micrometers to millimeters that dominate the primary and secondary production of the world's oceans.

KW - mixotrophy

KW - plankton size

KW - seasonal succession

KW - trait-based model

U2 - 10.1086/690764

DO - 10.1086/690764

M3 - Journal article

VL - 189

SP - E77-E90

JO - American Naturalist

JF - American Naturalist

SN - 0003-0147

IS - 4

ER -