Nutrient limitation of phytoplankton growth in Georgia nearshore waters
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Nutrient enrichment experiments were conducted to investigate the utilization of dissolved organic and inorganic nitrogen by marine phytoplankton in Georgia coastal waters. Natural populations of marine phytoplankton, enriched with different concentrations of ammonium chloride and other plant nutrients, were grown under controlled temperature and irradiance conditions until the populations reached “stationary phase.” Results showed that (1) phytoplankton are limited by DIN up to ca. 20μM, when another nutrient (phosphate or silicate) becomes limiting, (2) very little naturally-occurring DON is directly utilized for growth, (3) very little DON is indirectly made available for growth over time periods of days to ca. 1 week, and (4) trace metals and vitamins do not significantly limit phytoplankton growth.
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