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Competing effects of toxin-producing phytoplankton on overall plankton populations in the Bay of Bengal

Roy, S., Alam, S. and Chattopadhyay, J. (2006) Competing effects of toxin-producing phytoplankton on overall plankton populations in the Bay of Bengal. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 68 (8). pp. 2303-2320. ISSN 1522-9602

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11538-006-9109-5

Abstract/Summary

The coexistence of a large number of phytoplankton species on a seemingly limited variety of resources is a classical problem in ecology, known as ‘the paradox of the plankton’. Strong fluctuations in species abundance due to the external factors or competitive interactions leading to oscillations, chaos and short-term equilibria have been cited so far to explain multi-species coexistence and biodiversity of phytoplankton. However, none of the explanations has been universally accepted. The qualitative view and statistical analysis of our field data establish two distinct roles of toxin-producing phytoplankton (TPP): toxin allelopathy weakens the interspecific competition among phytoplankton groups and the inhibition due to ingestion of toxic substances reduces the abundance of the grazer zooplankton. Structuring the overall plankton population as a combination of nontoxic phytoplankton (NTP), toxic phytoplankton, and zooplankton, here we offer a novel solution to the plankton paradox governed by the activity of TPP. We demonstrate our findings through qualitative analysis of our sample data followed by analysis of a mathematical model.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:36889
Publisher:Springer

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