Trichodesmium’s strategies to alleviate phosphorus limitation in the future acidified oceans

Dina Spungin, Ilana Berman-Frank, Orly Levitan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Global warming may exacerbate inorganic nutrient limitation, including phosphorus (P), in the surface waters of tropical oceans that are home to extensive blooms of the marine diazotrophic cyanobacterium, Trichodesmium. We examined the combined effects of P limitation and pCO(2), forecast under ocean acidification scenarios, on Trichodesmium erythraeum IMS101 cultures. We measured nitrogen acquisition,glutamine synthetase activity, C uptake rates, intracellular Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) concentration and the pool sizes of related key proteins. Here, we present data supporting the idea that cellular energy re-allocation enables the higher growth and N(2) fixation rates detected in Trichodesmium cultured under high pCO(2). This is reflected in altered protein abundance and metabolic pools. Also modified are particulate organic carbon and nitrogen production rates,enzymatic activities, and cellular ATP concentrations. We suggest that adjusting these cellular pathways to changing environmental conditions enables Trichodesmium to compensate for low P availability and to thrive in acidified oceans. Moreover, elevated pCO(2) could provide Trichodesmium with a competitive dominance that would extend its niche, particularly in P-limited regions of the tropical and subtropical oceans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1935-1947
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2014


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