|Title||Outdoor phytoplankton continuous culture in a marine fish-phytoplankton-bivalve integrated system: combined effects of dilution rate and ambient conditions on growth rate, biomass and nutrient cycling|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2004|
|Authors||Lefebvre, S, Probert, I, Lefrançois, C, Hussenot, J|
Natural phytoplankton populations were cultured in outdoor continuous cultures using fish-farm effluents as the source of nutrients. The dilution rate was assumed to be the integrating factor of phytoplankton growth and biomass development (flux and stock). In this context, the combined effects of (i) dilution rates of the outdoor culture and (ii) ambient conditions were tested on phytoplankton growth, biomass and cycling of the major nutrient elements (C, N and P). Experiments were carried out in outdoor polyester tanks (0.7 m deep), homogenised by gentle aeration. Si/P ratio was balanced at around 5 in the inflow in order to induce diatom domination while maintaining high N and P assimilation by phytoplankton. Nutrient cycling was assessed through analyses of the different forms of particulate and dissolved nutrients in the inflow and the outflow. Culture dilution rates determined the longevity of the culture and the assimilation efficiency of nutrients. Dissolved phosphorus was the most limiting nutrient. The optimal dilution rate was approximately 0.5 day−1 at 10 °C and 1.5 day−1 at 20 °C with a mean diatom biomass of 9 $μ$M P. Under these conditions, 80% of the dissolved nutrients provided to the tanks were transformed, a production of 8 g C m−2 day−1 and an assimilation rate of 0.3 g P m−2 day−1 were recorded. Assimilation by diatoms was the major pathway of nutrient cycling. During the experiment, a bottom sediment developed progressively and this also played an important role in denitrifying the excess dissolved nitrogen in the fish-farm effluent. However, the results showed that diatom biomass can collapse and we hypothesize that this was the consequence of an increase in cellular sinking rates due to cell aggregation under nutrient or light stress. Modelling approaches are needed in future research in order to determine optimal dilution rates taking into account phytoplankton growth rates, nutrient inputs and ambient conditions (e.g. light and temperature).