10 Oct 2022
10 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Responses of elemental content and macromolecule of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi to reduced phosphorus availability and ocean acidification depend on light intensity

Yong Zhang1, Yong Zhang1, Shuai Ma1, Hanbing Chen2, Jiabing Li1, Zhengke Li3, Kui Xu4, Ruiping Huang5, Hong Zhang1, Yonghe Han1, and Jun Sun6 Yong Zhang et al.
  • 1College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, College of Carbon Neutral Modern Industry, Fujian Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Recycling, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China
  • 2College of Life Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China
  • 3School of Food and Biological Engineering, Shanxi University of Science and Technology, Xi’an, China
  • 4Hubei Key Laboratory of Edible Wild Plants Conservation and Utilization, Hubei Engineering Research Center of Special Wild Vegetables Breeding and Comprehensive Utilization Technology, College of Life Sciences, Hubei Normal University, Huangshi, China
  • 5State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China
  • 6Institute for Advanced Marine Research, China University of Geosciences, Guangzhou, China

Abstract. Global climate change leads to simultaneous changes in multiple environmental drivers in the marine realm. Although physiological characterization of coccolithophores have been studied under climate change, there is limited knowledge on the biochemical responses of this biogeochemically important phytoplankton group to changing multiple environmental drivers. Here we investigate the interactive effects of reduced phosphorus availability (4 to 0.4 μmol L–1), elevated pCO2 concentrations (426 to 946 μatm) and increasing light intensity (40 to 300 μmol photons m–2 s–1) on elemental content and macromolecules of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Reduced phosphorus availability reduces particulate organic nitrogen and protein contents under low light intensity, but not under high light intensity. Reduced phosphorus availability and ocean acidification act synergistically to increase particulate organic carbon (POC) and carbohydrate contents under high light intensity but not under low light intensity. Reduced phosphorus availability, ocean acidification and increasing light intensity act synergistically to increase the allocation of POC to carbohydrates. Under future ocean acidification and increasing light intensity, enhanced carbon fixation could increase carbon storage in the phosphorus-limited regions of the oceans where E. huxleyi dominates the phytoplankton assemblages. In each light intensity, elemental carbon to phosphorus (C : P) and nitrogen to phosphorus (N : P) ratios decrease with increasing growth rate. These results suggest that coccolithophores could reallocate chemical elements and energy to synthesize macromolecules efficiently, which allows them to regulate its elemental content and growth rate to acclimate to changing environmental conditions.

Yong Zhang et al.

Status: open (until 21 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-947', Peng Jin, 07 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-947', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Nov 2022 reply

Yong Zhang et al.


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Short summary
We found that increasing light intensity compensates for the negative effects of low phosphorus availability on cellular protein and nitrogen contents. Reduced phosphorus availability, increasing light intensity and ocean acidification act synergistically to increase cellular contents of carbohydrate and POC, and the allocation of POC to carbohydrate. These regulation mechanisms in coccolithophores provide vital information for evaluating carbon cycle in marine ecosystems under global change.