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CO2 alters community composition and response to nutrient enrichment of freshwater phytoplankton

Low-Décarie, Etienne and Bell, Graham and Fussmann, Gregor F (2015) 'CO2 alters community composition and response to nutrient enrichment of freshwater phytoplankton.' Oecologia, 177 (3). pp. 875-883. ISSN 0029-8549

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Nutrients can limit the productivity of ecosystems and control the composition of the communities of organisms that inhabit them. Humans are causing atmospheric CO2 concentrations to reach levels higher than those of the past millions of years while at the same time propagating eutrophication through the addition of nutrients to lakes and rivers. We studied the effect of elevated CO2 concentrations, nutrient addition and their interaction in a series of freshwater mesocosm experiments using a factorial design. Our results highlight the important role of CO2 in shaping phytoplankton communities and their response to nutrient addition. We found that CO2 greatly magnified the increase in phytoplankton growth caused by the increased availability of nutrients. Elevated CO2 also caused changes in phytoplankton community composition. As predicted from physiology and laboratory experiments, the taxonomic group that was most limited by current day CO2 concentrations, chlorophytes, increased in relative frequency at elevated CO2. This predictable change in community composition with changes in CO2 is not altered by changes in the availability of other nutrients.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Functional group; Carbon cycle; Competition; Global change; Co-limitation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2015 19:32
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:28

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