Algae and Nutrients: Uptake and Utilization of Limiting Nutrients in Generalized Phytoplankton Species

  • Tom Andersen
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 129)


In a nutrient-limited environment, a successful competitor must be able to maintain nonnegative growth at nutrient levels less than those required by other, competing species. The fate of a phytoplankton population is therefore to a large extent determined by the ability of its individual members to take up mineral nutrients from dilute solutions and the efficiency with which these nutrients are utilized to form new biomass. As phytoplankton constitute a major food source to grazing zooplankton, the stoichiometry of algal biomass will also affect the nutrient supply to higher trophic levels. Although similar principles seem to apply for a range of nutrients potentially limiting to phytoplankton growth (e.g., P, N, Fe, Mn; Morel 1987), the main focus in this chapter will be on the uptake and utilization of inorganic phosphorus, either as the single limiting nutrient or in a situation where both phosphorus and nitrogen may be limiting.


Dilution Rate Phytoplankton Growth Cumulative Frequency Distribution Monod Model Supply Ratio 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Andersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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