Nitrate- and silicate-competition among antarctic phytoplankton
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Natural phytoplankton from antarctic waters in the Drake Passage were used for competition experiments in semicontinuous cultures. The outcome of interspecific competition for silicate and nitrate was studied at a range of Si:N ratios (from 2.6:1 to 425:1) and at three different dilution rates. For five species Monod kinetics of silicate-and nitrate-limited growth has been established. Comparison between theoretical predictions derived from Monod kinetics and the outcome of competition experiments showed only minor deviations. Contrary to literature data, considerable depletion of nitrate was found in antarctic seawater. Both the concentrations of soluble silicate and of nitrate were too low to support maximum growth rates of some of the diatom species under investigation.
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