Polar Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 9, pp 1067–1080

Iron, silicate, and light co-limitation of three Southern Ocean diatom species

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-008-0448-6

Cite this article as:
Hoffmann, L.J., Peeken, I. & Lochte, K. Polar Biol (2008) 31: 1067. doi:10.1007/s00300-008-0448-6


The effect of combined iron, silicate, and light co-limitation was investigated in the three diatom species Actinocyclus sp. Ehrenberg, Chaetoceros dichaeta Ehrenberg, and Chaetoceros debilis Cleve, isolated from the Southern Ocean (SO). Growth of all species was co-limited by iron and silicate, reflected in a significant increase in the number of cell divisions compared to the control. Lowest relative Si uptake and drastic frustule malformation was found under iron and silicate co-limitation in C. dichaeta, while Si limitation in general caused cell elongation in both Chaetoceros species. Higher light intensities similar to SO surface conditions showed a negative impact on growth of C. dichaeta and Actinocyclus sp. and no effect on C. debilis. This is in contrast to the assumed light limitation of SO diatoms due to deep wind driven mixing. Our results suggest that growth and species composition of Southern Ocean diatoms is influenced by a sensitive interaction of the abiotic factors, iron, silicate, and light.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz Institute of Marine Science at the University of KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Department of Plant and Environmental SciencesGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  3. 3.Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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