The influence of periodic disturbances of various frequency on the maintenance of the phytoplankton diversity was studied by semicontinuous competition experiments. Disturbances consisted of dilution events, which meant both addition of fresh nutrients and elimination of organisms. The intervals between dilution events varied from 1 to 14 days. Diversity was found to increase with increasing intervals between disturbances. coexisting species belonged to different strategy types: (a) species with rapid growth under enriched conditions, (b) species with good competitive abilities under impoverished conditions, (c) species with the ability to build up storage pools of the limiting nutrient. An increase of the number of coexisting species over the number that would have coexisted in steady state was only found when the interval exceeded one generation time.
DiversityDisturbancesNutrient pulsesPopulation reductionsVarying frequency and intensityGrowth strategies