• shareshare
  • link
  • cite
  • add
auto_awesome_motion View all 6 versions
Publication . Article . 2012

Survival mechanisms of phytoplankton in conditions of stratification-induced deprivation of orthophosphate: Northern Adriatic case study

Ingrid Ivancčić; Jelena Godrijan; Martin Pfannkuchen; Daniela Marić; Blazčenka Gasčparović; Tamara Djakovac; Mirjana Najdeka;
Open Access
Published: 09 Oct 2012 Journal: Limnology and Oceanography, volume 57, pages 1,721-1,731 (issn: 0024-3590, Copyright policy )
Publisher: Wiley
Country: Croatia

Phytoplankton abundance in the northern Adriatic during the summer 2008 indicated that the system was highly productive, in spite of low orthophosphate (PO4) concentrations. Mechanisms by which phytoplankton adapted to PO4 deprivation during the summer stratification were studied. In upper, more productive waters, phytoplankton induced high alkaline phosphatase activity (APA) to obtain phosphorus (P) from the dissolved organic pool, and the P turnover time mediated by phytoplankton APA was very short (2 min to 1.5 h). Highaffinity enzymatic activity combined with high hydrolysis rates enabled metabolic flexibility to the phytoplankton in this heterogeneous and fluctuating environment. Another possible mechanism of adaptation to the PO4 deficit during the summer was a shift toward smaller cells. The smaller nanophytoplankton, supported by higher surface:volume ratios, were presumably able to produce more alkaline phosphatase, an exoenzyme bound to the cell surface. Progressive decrease of large cells and increase of smaller cells in the phytoplankton community during summer supported this hypothesis. In upper waters with low PO4 concentrations, phytoplankton reduced their P demand by a preferential synthesis of non-phospholipids. In bottom waters, phytoplankton abundance was markedly lower than in upper waters and growth was probably light limited. In these deeper waters with higher PO4 concentrations, phytoplankton cells did not use APA to obtain P and were able to synthesize more phospholipids. In deeper waters, growth of bigger cells was favored.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Ecology High alkaline phosphatase Phytoplankton Alkaline phosphatase Stratification (water) Environmental chemistry Turnover time Biology Nanophytoplankton

Medical Subject Headings: fungi


Aquatic Science, Oceanography, Marine Science, APA ; phytoplankton ; lipids

48 references, page 1 of 5

AGUSTI´, S. 1991. Allometric scaling of light absorption and scattering by phytoplankton cells. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48: 763-767, doi:10.1139/f91-091

AKTAN, Y. 2011. Large-scale patterns in summer surface water phytoplankton (except picophytoplankton) in the Eastern Mediterranean. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 91: 551-558, doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2010.12.010

AZAM, F., AND J. W. AMMERMAN. 1984. Cycling of organic matter by bacterioplankton in pelagic marine ecosystems: Microenvironmental considerations, p. 345-360. In M. J. Fasham [ed.], Flows of energy and materials in marine ecosystems. Plenum Press.

BERNARDI AUBRY, F., F. ACRI, M. BASTIANINI, F. BIANCHI, D. CASSIN, A. PUGNETTI, AND G. SOCAL. 2006. Seasonal and inter annual variations of phytoplankton in the Gulf of Venice (northern Adriatic Sea). Chem. Ecol. 22: 71-91, doi:10.1080/ 02757540600687962

BERTILSSON, S., O. BERGLUND, D. M. KARL, AND S. W. CHISHOLM. 2003. Elemental composition of marine Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus: Implications for the ecological stoichiometry of the sea. Limnol. Oceanogr. 48: 1721-1731, doi:10.4319/ lo.2003.48.5.1721

BLIGHT, E. G., AND W. J. DYER. 1959. A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Can. J. Biochem. Phys. 37: 911-917, doi:10.1139/o59-099

BOLDRIN, A., AND OTHERS. 2009. Effects of Bora wind on physical and biogeochemical properties of stratified waters in the northern Adriatic. J. Geophys. Res. 114: C08S92, doi:10.1029/ 2008JC004837

BRAAK, C. J. F. TER, AND P. SˇMILAUER. 2002. CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for Windows user's guide: Software for canonical community ordination (version 4.5) [Internet]. Ithaca (NY): Microcomputer Power [accessed 2012 April 11], Available from

COTNER, J. B., J. W. AMMERMAN, E. R. PEELE, AND E. BENTZEN. 1997. Phosphorus-limited bacterioplankton growth in the Sargasso Sea. Aquat. Microb. Ecol. 13: 141-149, doi:10.3354/ ame013141

COZZI, S., AND M. GIANI. 2011. River water and nutrient discharges in the Northern Adriatic Sea: Current importance and long term changes. Cont. Shelf Res. 31: 1881-1893, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2011.08.010