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European Journal of Phycology








We examined the combined effects of light and pCO2 on growth, CO2-fixation and N2-fixation rates by strains of the unicellular marine N2-fixing cyanobacterium Crocosphaera watsonii with small (WH0401) and large (WH0402) cells that were isolated from the western tropical Atlantic Ocean. In low-pCO2-acclimated cultures (190ppm) of WH0401, growth, CO2-fixation and N2-fixation rates were significantly lower than those in cultures acclimated to higher (present-day approximate to 385ppm, or future approximate to 750ppm) pCO2 treatments. Growth rates were not significantly different, however, in low-pCO2-acclimated cultures of WH0402 in comparison with higher pCO2 treatments. Unlike previous reports for C. watsonii (strain WH8501), N2-fixation rates did not increase further in cultures of WH0401 or WH0402 when acclimated to 750ppm relative to those maintained at present-day pCO2. Both light and pCO2 had a significant negative effect on gross : net N2-fixation rates in WH0402 and trends were similar in WH0401, implying that retention of fixed N was enhanced under elevated light and pCO2. These data, along with previously reported results, suggest that C. watsonii may have wide-ranging, strain-specific responses to changing light and pCO2, emphasizing the need for examining the effects of global change on a range of isolates within this biogeochemically important genus. In general, however, our data suggest that cellular N retention and CO2-fixation rates of C. watsonii may be positively affected by elevated light and pCO2 within the next 100 years, potentially increasing trophic transfer efficiency of C and N and thereby facilitating uptake of atmospheric carbon by the marine biota.


Web of Science: "Free full-text from publisher."


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Original Publication Citation

Garcia, N. S., Fu, F. X., Breene, C. L., Yu, E. K., Bernhardt, P. W., Mulholland, M. R., & Hutchins, D. A. (2013). Combined effects of CO2 and light on large and small isolates of the unicellular N2-fixing cyanobacterium Crocosphaera watsonii from the western tropical Atlantic Ocean. European Journal of Phycology, 48(1), 128-139. doi:10.1080/09670262.2013.773383


0000-0001-8819-189X (Mulholland)


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