Macroalgal responses to experimental nutrient enrichment in shallow coastal waters: Growth, internal nutrient pools, and isotopic signatures

Mirta Teichberg, Sophia E. Fox, Carolina Aguila, Ylva S. Olsen, Ivan Valiela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increased nutrient inputs to temperate coastal waters have led to increased occurrences of macroalgal blooms worldwide. To identify nutrients that are limiting to macroalgae and to determine whether different forms of these nutrients and long-term ambient nutrient conditions affect macroalgal response, we used in situ enrichment methods and tested the response of 2 bloom-forming species of macroalgae, Ulva lactuca and Gracilaria tikvahiae, from shallow estuaries of Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts, USA, that receive different land-derived N inputs. We enriched caged macroalgal fronds with nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, and N + P combinations, and measured growth, nutrient content, and δ15N signatures of fronds after 2 wk of incubation. In these estuaries, P did not limit growth, however, the 2 species differed in growth response to N additions. Growth of U. lactuca was greater in Childs River (CR), the estuary with higher nitrate inputs, than in Sage Lot Pond (SLP); growth in SLP increased with nitrate and ammonium enrichment. In contrast, growth of G. tikvahiae was greater in SLP than in CR, but had no growth response to N enrichment in either site. C and N contents differed initially between species and sites, and after nutrient enrichment. Final tissue % N increased and C:N decreased after nitrate and ammonium enrichment. δ15N values of the macroalgae demonstrated uptake of the experimental fertilizers, and a higher affinity and faster turnover of internal N pools with ammonium than nitrate enrichment in both species. We suggest that U. lactuca blooms in areas with both high nitrate and ammonium water column concentrations, and is more N-limited in oligotrophic waters where DIN levels are too low to sustain high growth rates. G. tikvahiae has a greater N storage capacity than U. lactuca, which may allow it to grow in less nutrient-rich waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume368
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

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nutrient enrichment
Ulva lactuca
eutrophication
coastal water
nitrates
nutrient
nitrate
nutrients
macroalgae
algal bloom
ammonium
estuaries
pond
fronds
estuary
ammonium nitrate
growth response
bay (herb)
ammonium phosphates
rivers

Cite this

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title = "Macroalgal responses to experimental nutrient enrichment in shallow coastal waters: Growth, internal nutrient pools, and isotopic signatures",
abstract = "Increased nutrient inputs to temperate coastal waters have led to increased occurrences of macroalgal blooms worldwide. To identify nutrients that are limiting to macroalgae and to determine whether different forms of these nutrients and long-term ambient nutrient conditions affect macroalgal response, we used in situ enrichment methods and tested the response of 2 bloom-forming species of macroalgae, Ulva lactuca and Gracilaria tikvahiae, from shallow estuaries of Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts, USA, that receive different land-derived N inputs. We enriched caged macroalgal fronds with nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, and N + P combinations, and measured growth, nutrient content, and δ15N signatures of fronds after 2 wk of incubation. In these estuaries, P did not limit growth, however, the 2 species differed in growth response to N additions. Growth of U. lactuca was greater in Childs River (CR), the estuary with higher nitrate inputs, than in Sage Lot Pond (SLP); growth in SLP increased with nitrate and ammonium enrichment. In contrast, growth of G. tikvahiae was greater in SLP than in CR, but had no growth response to N enrichment in either site. C and N contents differed initially between species and sites, and after nutrient enrichment. Final tissue {\%} N increased and C:N decreased after nitrate and ammonium enrichment. δ15N values of the macroalgae demonstrated uptake of the experimental fertilizers, and a higher affinity and faster turnover of internal N pools with ammonium than nitrate enrichment in both species. We suggest that U. lactuca blooms in areas with both high nitrate and ammonium water column concentrations, and is more N-limited in oligotrophic waters where DIN levels are too low to sustain high growth rates. G. tikvahiae has a greater N storage capacity than U. lactuca, which may allow it to grow in less nutrient-rich waters.",
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Macroalgal responses to experimental nutrient enrichment in shallow coastal waters : Growth, internal nutrient pools, and isotopic signatures. / Teichberg, Mirta; Fox, Sophia E.; Aguila, Carolina; Olsen, Ylva S.; Valiela, Ivan.

In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 368, 25.09.2008, p. 117-126.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Macroalgal responses to experimental nutrient enrichment in shallow coastal waters

T2 - Growth, internal nutrient pools, and isotopic signatures

AU - Teichberg, Mirta

AU - Fox, Sophia E.

AU - Aguila, Carolina

AU - Olsen, Ylva S.

AU - Valiela, Ivan

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Y1 - 2008/9/25

N2 - Increased nutrient inputs to temperate coastal waters have led to increased occurrences of macroalgal blooms worldwide. To identify nutrients that are limiting to macroalgae and to determine whether different forms of these nutrients and long-term ambient nutrient conditions affect macroalgal response, we used in situ enrichment methods and tested the response of 2 bloom-forming species of macroalgae, Ulva lactuca and Gracilaria tikvahiae, from shallow estuaries of Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts, USA, that receive different land-derived N inputs. We enriched caged macroalgal fronds with nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, and N + P combinations, and measured growth, nutrient content, and δ15N signatures of fronds after 2 wk of incubation. In these estuaries, P did not limit growth, however, the 2 species differed in growth response to N additions. Growth of U. lactuca was greater in Childs River (CR), the estuary with higher nitrate inputs, than in Sage Lot Pond (SLP); growth in SLP increased with nitrate and ammonium enrichment. In contrast, growth of G. tikvahiae was greater in SLP than in CR, but had no growth response to N enrichment in either site. C and N contents differed initially between species and sites, and after nutrient enrichment. Final tissue % N increased and C:N decreased after nitrate and ammonium enrichment. δ15N values of the macroalgae demonstrated uptake of the experimental fertilizers, and a higher affinity and faster turnover of internal N pools with ammonium than nitrate enrichment in both species. We suggest that U. lactuca blooms in areas with both high nitrate and ammonium water column concentrations, and is more N-limited in oligotrophic waters where DIN levels are too low to sustain high growth rates. G. tikvahiae has a greater N storage capacity than U. lactuca, which may allow it to grow in less nutrient-rich waters.

AB - Increased nutrient inputs to temperate coastal waters have led to increased occurrences of macroalgal blooms worldwide. To identify nutrients that are limiting to macroalgae and to determine whether different forms of these nutrients and long-term ambient nutrient conditions affect macroalgal response, we used in situ enrichment methods and tested the response of 2 bloom-forming species of macroalgae, Ulva lactuca and Gracilaria tikvahiae, from shallow estuaries of Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts, USA, that receive different land-derived N inputs. We enriched caged macroalgal fronds with nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, and N + P combinations, and measured growth, nutrient content, and δ15N signatures of fronds after 2 wk of incubation. In these estuaries, P did not limit growth, however, the 2 species differed in growth response to N additions. Growth of U. lactuca was greater in Childs River (CR), the estuary with higher nitrate inputs, than in Sage Lot Pond (SLP); growth in SLP increased with nitrate and ammonium enrichment. In contrast, growth of G. tikvahiae was greater in SLP than in CR, but had no growth response to N enrichment in either site. C and N contents differed initially between species and sites, and after nutrient enrichment. Final tissue % N increased and C:N decreased after nitrate and ammonium enrichment. δ15N values of the macroalgae demonstrated uptake of the experimental fertilizers, and a higher affinity and faster turnover of internal N pools with ammonium than nitrate enrichment in both species. We suggest that U. lactuca blooms in areas with both high nitrate and ammonium water column concentrations, and is more N-limited in oligotrophic waters where DIN levels are too low to sustain high growth rates. G. tikvahiae has a greater N storage capacity than U. lactuca, which may allow it to grow in less nutrient-rich waters.

KW - Ammonium

KW - Assimilation

KW - Eutrophication

KW - Gracilaria spp.

KW - Macroalgal blooms

KW - N uptake

KW - Nitrate

KW - Nutrient limitation

KW - Phosphate

KW - Ulva spp.

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U2 - 10.3354/meps07564

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JO - Marine Ecology - Progress Series

JF - Marine Ecology - Progress Series

SN - 0171-8630

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