Responses of Zn assimilation by coastal plankton to macronutrients

Wang, Wen-Xiong, Robert C. H. Dei, Yan Xu

Limnol. Oceanogr., 46(6), 2001, 1524-1534 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2001.46.6.1524

ABSTRACT: We examined the Zn uptake in marine diatoms and its transfer to marine copepods under different nutrient-replete and -deplete conditions. Zn uptake, quantified by measurements of both total cellular and intracellular Zn accumulation in two coastal diatoms (Thalassiosira pseudonana and Thalassiosira weissflogii), was greatly dependent on the ambient nitrogen conditions. Semicontinuous culture experiments demonstrated that diatom cells accumulated much less Zn with decreasing ambient nitrate concentration. The calculated Zn uptake rate decreased by 1.8 times in T. pseudonana and 1.5 times in T. weissflogii with a decrease in ambient N concentration from 176 µM to 17.6 µM. N-starved cells also accumulated much less Zn compared with N-enriched cells. The uptake rate decreased by 2.5-2.6 times when both diatoms were starved of N for 2 d. The intracellular partitioning of Zn in the diatom T. pseudonana was positively related to the ambient N level within the short-term exposure period (5 h). P starvation, however, resulted in an increase in Zn accumulation in the diatoms, whereas Si starvation did not significantly affect the rate of Zn uptake in diatoms. The trophic transfer was quantified by measurement of Zn assimilation efficiency in two copepods (Calanus sinicus and Acartia spinicauda) feeding on diatoms with a different N quota. Assimilation generally increased with an increase in the N quota of the diatoms. In one experiment (C. sinicus feeding on diatom T. weissflogii), the influence of different N status in diatoms on Zn assimilation by copepods was statistically significant. In contrast, the elimination rate (physiological turnover rate) was independent of the N quota of the cells. Nitrogen enrichment may lead to an increase in Zn uptake and transfer in marine plankton. Our study therefore suggests that there is considerable interaction between macronutrients and Zn uptake by plankton in aquatic systems.

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