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Universal response pattern of phytoplankton growth rates to increasing CO2


Paul, AJ and Bach, LT, Universal response pattern of phytoplankton growth rates to increasing CO2, New Phytologist, 228, (6) pp. 1710-1716. ISSN 1469-8137 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1111/nph.16806


Phytoplankton growth rate is a key variable controlling species succession and ecosystem structure throughout the surface ocean. Carbonate chemistry conditions are known to influence phytoplankton growth rates but there is no conceptual framework allowing us to compare growth rate responses across taxa. Here we analyse the literature to show that phytoplankton growth rates follow an optimum curve response pattern whenever the tested species is exposed to a sufficiently large gradient in proton (H+) concentrations. Based on previous findings with coccolithophores and diatoms, we argue that this ‘universal reaction norm’ is shaped by the stimulating influence of increasing inorganic carbon substrate (left side of the optimum) and the inhibiting influence of increase H+ (right side of the optimum). We envisage that exploration of carbonate chemistry‐dependent optimum curves as a default experimental approach will boost our mechanistic understanding of phytoplankton responses to ocean acidification, like temperature curves have already boosted our mechanistic understanding to global warming.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:growth rate, phytoplankton, CO2, reaction norm
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)
UTAS Author:Bach, LT (Dr Lennart Bach)
ID Code:141468
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2020-10-22
Last Modified:2021-02-17

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