Journal of Biological Physics

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 459–474

Spatial Interaction Among Nontoxic Phytoplankton, Toxic Phytoplankton, and Zooplankton: Emergence in Space and Time

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10867-008-9100-5

Cite this article as:
Roy, S. J Biol Phys (2008) 34: 459. doi:10.1007/s10867-008-9100-5


In homogeneous environments, by overturning the possibility of competitive exclusion among phytoplankton species, and by regulating the dynamics of overall plankton population, toxin-producing phytoplankton (TPP) potentially help in maintaining plankton diversity—a result shown recently. Here, I explore the competitive effects of TPP on phytoplankton and zooplankton species undergoing spatial movements in the subsurface water. The spatial interactions among the species are represented in the form of reaction-diffusion equations. Suitable parametric conditions under which Turing patterns may or may not evolve are investigated. Spatiotemporal distributions of species biomass are simulated using the diffusivity assumptions realistic for natural planktonic systems. The study demonstrates that spatial movements of planktonic systems in the presence of TPP generate and maintain inhomogeneous biomass distribution of competing phytoplankton, as well as grazer zooplankton, thereby ensuring the persistence of multiple species in space and time. The overall results may potentially explain the sustainability of biodiversity and the spatiotemporal emergence of phytoplankton and zooplankton species under the influence of TPP combined with their physical movement in the subsurface water.


PhytoplanktonToxinAllelopathyCompetitive coexistenceParadox of planktonDiffusionSpatial dynamics

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK