research product . 2021

Haplo-diplontic life cycle expands coccolithophore niche

Vries, Joost; Monteiro, Fanny; Wheeler, Glen; Poulton, Alex; Godrijan, Jelena; Cerino, Federica; Malinverno, Elisa; Langer, Gerald; Brownlee, Colin;
Open Access English
  • Published: 16 Feb 2021
Abstract
Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases and potentially expands coccolithophore niche volume. Research has, however, to date largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase of coccolithophores. Through the synthesis and analysis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n=2534), we find that calcified haploid coccolithophores generally constitute a minor component of the total coccolithophore abundance (≈ 2 %–15 % depending on season). However, using case studies in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, we show that, depending on environmental conditions, calcifying haploid coccolithophores can be significant contributors to the coccolithophore standing stock (up to ≈30 %). Furthermore, using hypervolumes to quantify the niche of coccolithophores, we illustrate that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches and that on average this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche by ≈18.8 %, with a range of 3 %–76 % for individual species. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology. Our results furthermore suggest a different response to nutrient limitation and stratification, which may be of relevance for further climate scenarios. Our compilation highlights the spatial and temporal sparsity of SEM measurements and the need for new molecular techniques to identify uncalcified haploid coccolithophores. Our work also emphasizes the need for further work on the carbonate chemistry niche of the coccolithophore life cycle.
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Other Communities
  • European Marine Science Marine Environmental Science : MEDiterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate
  • European Marine Science Marine Environmental Science : Marine phytoplankton as biogeochemical drivers: Scaling from membranes and single cells to populations
Funded by
UKRI| GW4+ - a consortium of excellence in innovative research training
Project
  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Project Code: NE/L002434/1
  • Funding stream: NERC
,
UKRI| NSFGEO-NERC An unexpected requirement for silicon in coccolithophore calcification: ecological and evolutionary implications.
Project
  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Project Code: NE/N011708/1
  • Funding stream: NERC
,
MZOS| Mechanism of long-term changes in the northern Adriatic ecosystem
Project
  • Funder: Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia (MSES) (MZOS)
  • Project Code: 098-0982705-2731
,
EC| SEACELLS
Project
SEACELLS
Marine phytoplankton as biogeochemical drivers: Scaling from membranes and single cells to populations
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 670390
  • Funding stream: H2020 | ERC | ERC-ADG
,
EC| MEDSEA
Project
MEDSEA
MEDiterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 265103
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | ENV
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