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Title (Primary) Complementary ecophysiological strategies combine to facilitate survival in the hostile conditions of a deep chlorophyll maximum
Author Clegg, M.R.; Gaedke, U.; Boehrer, B.; Spijkerman, E.;
Journal Oecologia
Year 2012
Department SEEFO;
Volume 169
Issue 3
Language englisch;
Keywords DCM;photosynthesis;growth;behaviour;phytoplankton

In the deep, cooler layers of clear, nutrient-poor, stratified water bodies, phytoplankton often accumulate to form a thin band or “deep chlorophyll maximum” (DCM) of ecological importance. Under such conditions, these photosynthetic microorganisms may be close to their physiological compensation points and to the boundaries of their ecological tolerance. To grow and survive any resulting energy limitation, DCM species are thought to exhibit highly specialised or flexible acclimation strategies. In this study, we investigated several of the adaptable ecophysiological strategies potentially employed by one such species, Chlamydomonas acidophila: a motile, unicellular, phytoplanktonic flagellate that often dominates the DCM in stratified, acidic lakes. Physiological and behavioural responses were measured in laboratory experiments and were subsequently related to field observations. Results showed moderate light compensation points for photosynthesis and growth at 22°C, relatively low maintenance costs, a behavioural preference for low to moderate light, and a decreased compensation point for photosynthesis at 8°C. Even though this flagellated alga exhibited a physiologically mediated diel vertical migration in the field, migrating upwards slightly during the day, the ambient light reaching the DCM was below compensation points, and so calculations of daily net photosynthetic gain showed that survival by purely autotrophic means was not possible. Results suggested that strategies such as low-light acclimation, small-scale directed movements towards light, a capacity for mixotrophic growth, acclimation to low temperature, in situ exposure to low O2, high CO2 and high P concentrations, and an avoidance of predation, could combine to help overcome this energetic dilemma and explain the occurrence of the DCM. Therefore, corroborating the deceptive ecophysiological complexity of this and similar organisms, only a suite of complementary strategies can facilitate the survival of C. acidophila in this DCM.

ID 12547
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Clegg, M.R., Gaedke, U., Boehrer, B., Spijkerman, E. (2012):
Complementary ecophysiological strategies combine to facilitate survival in the hostile conditions of a deep chlorophyll maximum
Oecologia 169 (3), 609 - 622