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      High Variability in Cellular Stoichiometry of Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Within Classes of Marine Eukaryotic Phytoplankton Under Sufficient Nutrient Conditions

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          Current hypotheses suggest that cellular elemental stoichiometry of marine eukaryotic phytoplankton such as the ratios of cellular carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus (C:N:P) vary between phylogenetic groups. To investigate how phylogenetic structure, cell volume, growth rate, and temperature interact to affect the cellular elemental stoichiometry of marine eukaryotic phytoplankton, we examined the C:N:P composition in 30 isolates across 7 classes of marine phytoplankton that were grown with a sufficient supply of nutrients and nitrate as the nitrogen source. The isolates covered a wide range in cell volume (5 orders of magnitude), growth rate (<0.01–0.9 d −1), and habitat temperature (2–24°C). Our analysis indicates that C:N:P is highly variable, with statistical model residuals accounting for over half of the total variance and no relationship between phylogeny and elemental stoichiometry. Furthermore, our data indicated that variability in C:P, N:P, and C:N within Bacillariophyceae (diatoms) was as high as that among all of the isolates that we examined. In addition, a linear statistical model identified a positive relationship between diatom cell volume and C:P and N:P. Among all of the isolates that we examined, the statistical model identified temperature as a significant factor, consistent with the temperature-dependent translation efficiency model, but temperature only explained 5% of the total statistical model variance. While some of our results support data from previous field studies, the high variability of elemental ratios within Bacillariophyceae contradicts previous work that suggests that this cosmopolitan group of microalgae has consistently low C:P and N:P ratios in comparison with other groups.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Growth rate influence on the chemical composition of phytoplankton in oceanic waters

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            Phytoplankton in a changing world: cell size and elemental stoichiometry

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              PHYLIP — Phylogeny inference package (Version 3.2.)


                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                27 March 2018
                : 9
                1Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine , Irvine, CA, United States
                2Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota , East Boothbay, ME, United States
                3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine , Irvine, CA, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Hongyue Dang, Xiamen University, China

                Reviewed by: Edward Hall, Colorado State University, United States; Connie Lovejoy, Laval University, Canada; Robert Ptacnik, WasserCluster Lunz, Austria; Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, University of Exeter, United Kingdom

                *Correspondence: Adam C. Martiny amartiny@

                This article was submitted to Aquatic Microbiology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2018 Garcia, Sexton, Riggins, Brown, Lomas and Martiny.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 47, Pages: 10, Words: 6810
                Funded by: National Science Foundation 10.13039/100000001
                Award ID: OCE 1046297
                Original Research

                Microbiology & Virology

                growth, eukaryote, cell size, temperature, prymnesiophyte, dinoflagellate, diatom, protist


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