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Importance of allelopathy as peudo-mixotrophy for the dynamics and diversity of phytoplankton

Roy, S. ORCID: (2015) Importance of allelopathy as peudo-mixotrophy for the dynamics and diversity of phytoplankton. In: Biodiversity in Ecosystems - Linking Structure and Function. INTECH, pp. 17-28. ISBN 9789535120285

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5772/59055


Understanding the dynamics and diversity of marine phytoplankton is essential for predicting oceanic primary production, oxygen generation and carbon sequestration. Several top-down and bottom-up factors lead to complex phytoplankton dynamics. Complexities further arise from inter-species interactions within phytoplankton communities. Consequently, some of the basic questions on phytoplankton diversity, identified long ago, still puzzle the ecologists: for example, what regulates the diversity in simple systems where species compete for limiting resources? In this context, allelopathic interaction among phytoplankton species has been identified as a potential driver of their dynamics and regulator of their diversity. This chapter deals with the importance of allelopathy in regulating the outcome of nutrient competition among phytoplankton species, through analysis of a resource-competition model. It demonstrates that, through the mechanism of pseudo-mixotrophy - proposed earlier by the author - allelopathy provides essential growth advantage to weaker competitors, and stabilizes resource competition, which ensures the coexistence of two phytoplankton on a single nutrient. In simple nutrient-phytoplankton interactions where higher-trophic influences are negligible, this mechanism theoretically promotes phytoplankton diversity, and can potentially support high diversity in natural phytoplankton communities.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:40089
Uncontrolled Keywords:Phytoplankton; Nutrient; Toxin; Allelopathy; Pseudo-mixotrophy; Stability; Plankton diversity; Harmful algae
Additional Information:Open access


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