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Marine Primary Productivity Is Driven by a Selection Effect

AuthorsCermeño, Pedro ; Figueiras, F. G. ; Marrasé, Cèlia ; Teixeira, I. G. ; Vallina, Sergio M.
KeywordsMarine phytoplankton
Species richness
Primary productivity
Resource use
Selection effect
Issue Date2016
PublisherFrontiers Media
CitationFrontiers in Marine Science 3: 173 (2016)
AbstractThe number of species of autotrophic communities can increase ecosystem productivity through species complementarity or through a selection effect which occurs when the biomass of the community approaches the monoculture biomass of the most productive species. Here we explore the effect of resource supply on marine primary productivity under the premise that the high local species richness of phytoplankton communities increases resource use through transient selection of productive species. Using concurrent measurements of phytoplankton community structure, nitrate fluxes into the euphotic zone, and productivity from a temperate coastal ecosystem, we find that observed productivities are best described by a population growth model in which the dominant species of the community approach their maximum growth rates. We interpret these results as evidence of species selection in communities containing a vast taxonomic repertory. The prevalence of selection effect was supported by open ocean data that show an increase in species dominance across a gradient of nutrient availability. These results highlight the way marine phytoplankton optimize resources and sustain world food stocks. We suggest that the maintenance of phytoplankton species richness is essential to sustain marine primary productivity since it guarantees the occurrence of highly productive species
Description10 páginas, 6 figuras, 1 tabla.-- Pedro Cermeño ... et al.-- This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2016.00173
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