Interactions between growth-dependent changes in cell size, nutrient supply and cellular elemental stoichiometry of marine Synechococcus

Nathan S Garcia, Juan A Bonachela, Adam C Martiny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The factors that control elemental ratios within phytoplankton, like carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus (C:N:P), are key to biogeochemical cycles. Previous studies have identified relationships between nutrient-limited growth and elemental ratios in large eukaryotes, but little is known about these interactions in small marine phytoplankton like the globally important Cyanobacteria. To improve our understanding of these interactions in picophytoplankton, we asked how cellular elemental stoichiometry varies as a function of steady-state, N- and P-limited growth in laboratory chemostat cultures of Synechococcus WH8102. By combining empirical data and theoretical modeling, we identified a previously unrecognized factor (growth-dependent variability in cell size) that controls the relationship between nutrient-limited growth and cellular elemental stoichiometry. To predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of phytoplankton, previous theoretical models rely on the traditional Droop model, which purports that the acquisition of a single limiting nutrient suffices to explain the relationship between a cellular nutrient quota and growth rate. Our study, however, indicates that growth-dependent changes in cell size have an important role in regulating cell nutrient quotas. This key ingredient, along with nutrient-uptake protein regulation, enables our model to predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of Synechococcus across a range of nutrient-limited conditions. Our analysis also adds to the growth rate hypothesis, suggesting that P-rich biomolecules other than nucleic acids are important drivers of stoichiometric variability in Synechococcus. Lastly, by comparing our data with field observations, our study has important ecological relevance as it provides a framework for understanding and predicting elemental ratios in ocean regions where small phytoplankton like Synechococcus dominates.
LanguageEnglish
JournalISME Journal
Early online date8 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Apr 2016

Fingerprint

Synechococcus
stoichiometry
Cell Size
Phytoplankton
Food
nutrient
nutrients
Growth
phytoplankton
cells
chemostat
biogeochemical cycle
nucleic acid
eukaryote
nutrient uptake
Cyanobacteria
nucleic acids
growth factors
biogeochemical cycles
eukaryotic cells

Keywords

  • phytoplankton
  • Synechococcus
  • growth-dependent changes

Cite this

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title = "Interactions between growth-dependent changes in cell size, nutrient supply and cellular elemental stoichiometry of marine Synechococcus",
abstract = "The factors that control elemental ratios within phytoplankton, like carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus (C:N:P), are key to biogeochemical cycles. Previous studies have identified relationships between nutrient-limited growth and elemental ratios in large eukaryotes, but little is known about these interactions in small marine phytoplankton like the globally important Cyanobacteria. To improve our understanding of these interactions in picophytoplankton, we asked how cellular elemental stoichiometry varies as a function of steady-state, N- and P-limited growth in laboratory chemostat cultures of Synechococcus WH8102. By combining empirical data and theoretical modeling, we identified a previously unrecognized factor (growth-dependent variability in cell size) that controls the relationship between nutrient-limited growth and cellular elemental stoichiometry. To predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of phytoplankton, previous theoretical models rely on the traditional Droop model, which purports that the acquisition of a single limiting nutrient suffices to explain the relationship between a cellular nutrient quota and growth rate. Our study, however, indicates that growth-dependent changes in cell size have an important role in regulating cell nutrient quotas. This key ingredient, along with nutrient-uptake protein regulation, enables our model to predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of Synechococcus across a range of nutrient-limited conditions. Our analysis also adds to the growth rate hypothesis, suggesting that P-rich biomolecules other than nucleic acids are important drivers of stoichiometric variability in Synechococcus. Lastly, by comparing our data with field observations, our study has important ecological relevance as it provides a framework for understanding and predicting elemental ratios in ocean regions where small phytoplankton like Synechococcus dominates.",
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Interactions between growth-dependent changes in cell size, nutrient supply and cellular elemental stoichiometry of marine Synechococcus. / Garcia, Nathan S; Bonachela, Juan A; Martiny, Adam C.

In: ISME Journal, 08.04.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - The factors that control elemental ratios within phytoplankton, like carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus (C:N:P), are key to biogeochemical cycles. Previous studies have identified relationships between nutrient-limited growth and elemental ratios in large eukaryotes, but little is known about these interactions in small marine phytoplankton like the globally important Cyanobacteria. To improve our understanding of these interactions in picophytoplankton, we asked how cellular elemental stoichiometry varies as a function of steady-state, N- and P-limited growth in laboratory chemostat cultures of Synechococcus WH8102. By combining empirical data and theoretical modeling, we identified a previously unrecognized factor (growth-dependent variability in cell size) that controls the relationship between nutrient-limited growth and cellular elemental stoichiometry. To predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of phytoplankton, previous theoretical models rely on the traditional Droop model, which purports that the acquisition of a single limiting nutrient suffices to explain the relationship between a cellular nutrient quota and growth rate. Our study, however, indicates that growth-dependent changes in cell size have an important role in regulating cell nutrient quotas. This key ingredient, along with nutrient-uptake protein regulation, enables our model to predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of Synechococcus across a range of nutrient-limited conditions. Our analysis also adds to the growth rate hypothesis, suggesting that P-rich biomolecules other than nucleic acids are important drivers of stoichiometric variability in Synechococcus. Lastly, by comparing our data with field observations, our study has important ecological relevance as it provides a framework for understanding and predicting elemental ratios in ocean regions where small phytoplankton like Synechococcus dominates.

AB - The factors that control elemental ratios within phytoplankton, like carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus (C:N:P), are key to biogeochemical cycles. Previous studies have identified relationships between nutrient-limited growth and elemental ratios in large eukaryotes, but little is known about these interactions in small marine phytoplankton like the globally important Cyanobacteria. To improve our understanding of these interactions in picophytoplankton, we asked how cellular elemental stoichiometry varies as a function of steady-state, N- and P-limited growth in laboratory chemostat cultures of Synechococcus WH8102. By combining empirical data and theoretical modeling, we identified a previously unrecognized factor (growth-dependent variability in cell size) that controls the relationship between nutrient-limited growth and cellular elemental stoichiometry. To predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of phytoplankton, previous theoretical models rely on the traditional Droop model, which purports that the acquisition of a single limiting nutrient suffices to explain the relationship between a cellular nutrient quota and growth rate. Our study, however, indicates that growth-dependent changes in cell size have an important role in regulating cell nutrient quotas. This key ingredient, along with nutrient-uptake protein regulation, enables our model to predict the cellular elemental stoichiometry of Synechococcus across a range of nutrient-limited conditions. Our analysis also adds to the growth rate hypothesis, suggesting that P-rich biomolecules other than nucleic acids are important drivers of stoichiometric variability in Synechococcus. Lastly, by comparing our data with field observations, our study has important ecological relevance as it provides a framework for understanding and predicting elemental ratios in ocean regions where small phytoplankton like Synechococcus dominates.

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