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Marine Nitrogen-Fixing Diatom-Cyanobacteria Symbioses

  • Tracy A. Villareal
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 362)

Abstract

This review summarizes growth and nitrogen-fixation data on diatom-cyanobacteria symbioses. Symbiotic associations between diatoms and filamentous cyanobacteria are frequently noted in tropical and subtropical waters, and direct evidence indicates that at least two associations are diazotrophic. Abundance data is limited, but Rhizosolenia-Richelia blooms are recorded from the central Pacific gyre at up to 104 cells L−1. In-situ growth rates of these associations are not known; however, laboratory data on the Rhizosolenia-Richelia symbiosis suggests the host-symbiont association can reproduce at approximately 0.8–1.0 div day−1. Growth kinetics in nitrogen-poor medium suggest that transfer of fixed nitrogen from host to symbiont occurs and that this process can support the host’s growth under N-limiting conditions. Additional symbioses, particularly in Hemiaulus, may be more widespread than previously realized due to the difficulty in identifying the symbiont in standard light microscopy. Few field measurements of N2-fixation are available for these associations. Rhizosolenia-Richelia appears to be locally important in the central Pacific gyre. Hemiaulus spp. are a common and abundant diatom in oligotrophic seas, and if 80–100% of the cells are symbiotic as reported, then they represent an unquantified, and potentially substantial, source of nitrogen-fixation.

Keywords

Nitrogen Fixation Acetylene Reduction Deep Chlorophyll Maximum Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Heterocystous Cyanobacterium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy A. Villareal
    • 1
  1. 1.Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA

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