Cell Size Dependent Responses of Phytoplankton Assemblages to Nitrate and Phosphate Additions in Surface Waters of the Northern South China Sea


Bioavailability of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) is known to affect marine phytoplankton physiology, thus influencing their primary productivity; and it’s of general interest to see how the N or/and P additions affect the differently cell-sized phytoplankton assemblages. Data from the northern South China Sea showed that P addition increased up to 6 times of total chl a content within 24 h in the estuarine water; and N+P addition increased more than 20 times of chl a within 144 h in the pelagic water. The P addition powered 18.0% and 149% increase in the carbon fixation of larger (>3 μm) and smaller (<3 μm) cell assemblies from the estuarine water, respectively; while the limited effects were observed between them in the pelagic water. Additions of N and P interactively increased the carbon fixation of both cell-sized assemblies in the pelagic water, but only small cell-sized fraction in the estuarine water. Moreover, the estuarine phytoplankton cells appeared to respond faster to the nutrient additions than the pelagic ones, and the smaller cells respond to a greater extent than their larger counterparts in the estuarine water but not in the pelagic water.

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Yi, R. , Tan, Y. , Wang, S. , Shen, P. , Ke, Z. , Huang, L. , Song, X. and Li, G. (2014) Cell Size Dependent Responses of Phytoplankton Assemblages to Nitrate and Phosphate Additions in Surface Waters of the Northern South China Sea. Open Journal of Marine Science, 4, 61-67. doi: 10.4236/ojms.2014.42008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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