Elevated temperature increases carbon and nitrogen fluxes between phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria through physical attachment

Nestor Arandia-Gorostidi, Peter K Weber, Laura Alonso-Sáez, Xose Anxelu G. Moran, Xavier Mayali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quantifying the contribution of marine microorganisms to carbon and nitrogen cycles and their response to predicted ocean warming is one of the main challenges of microbial oceanography. Here we present a single-cell NanoSIMS isotope analysis to quantify C and N uptake by free-living and attached phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria, and their response to short-term experimental warming of 4 °C. Elevated temperature increased total C fixation by over 50%, a small but significant fraction of which was transferred to heterotrophs within 12 h. Cell-to-cell attachment doubled the secondary C uptake by heterotrophic bacteria and increased secondary N incorporation by autotrophs by 68%. Warming also increased the abundance of phytoplankton with attached heterotrophs by 80%, and promoted C transfer from phytoplankton to bacteria by 17% and N transfer from bacteria to phytoplankton by 50%. Our results indicate that phytoplankton-bacteria attachment provides an ecological advantage for nutrient incorporation, suggesting a mutualistic relationship that appears to be enhanced by temperature increases.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-650
Number of pages10
JournalThe ISME Journal
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 6 2016

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