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The effects of ammonium and phosphate enrichments on clorophyll a, pigment ratio and species composition of phytoplankton of Vineyard Sound


Seawater containing natural phytoplankton populations from Vineyard Sound, USA was enriched in the laboratory with three levels each of ammonium and phosphate and with a combination of ammonium and phosphate which provided three different N:P ratios. The addition of ammonium produced more cells and chlorophyll a than the control or the phosphate enrichments. However, enrichment with ammonium and phosphate, regardless of the N:P ratio, yielded the most cells and chlorophyll a. Thus, nitrogen seems to be the primary limiting nutrient, with phosphate showing secondary limiting effects. The ratios of photosynthetic pigments \(\frac{{ - D430 - }}{{ - D663 - }}\) decreased with the increased chlorophyll a production in the enriched cultures. There were no significant changes in the species composition within the cultures, so that the observed changes in pigment ratio and chlorophyll a content were due to physiological responses.

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Communicated by J. Bunt, Miami

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Vince, S., Valiela, I. The effects of ammonium and phosphate enrichments on clorophyll a, pigment ratio and species composition of phytoplankton of Vineyard Sound. Marine Biology 19, 69–73 (1973).

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  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphate
  • Ammonium
  • Chlorophyll
  • Phytoplankton