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Threshold elemental ratios for carbon versus phosphorus limitation in Daphnia

Anderson, T.R.; Hessen, D.O.. 2005 Threshold elemental ratios for carbon versus phosphorus limitation in Daphnia. Freshwater Biology, 50 (12). 2063-2075. 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2005.01450.x

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Abstract/Summary

1. The transition from carbon (C) to phosphorus (P) limited growth in Daphnia depends not only on the C : P ratio in seston, i.e. food quality, but also on food quantity. Carbon is commonly believed to be limiting at low food because of the energetic demands of basal metabolism. The critical C : P ratio in seston (otherwise known as the threshold elemental ratio, TER) above which P is limiting would then be high when food is scarce. 2. A new model that differentiates between the C : P requirements for growth and maintenance is presented that includes terms for both C and P in basal metabolism. At low food the calculated TERs for Daphnia of around 230 are only slightly higher than values of 200 or so at high intake. Seston C : P often exceeds 230, particularly in oligotrophic lakes where phytoplankton concentration is low and detritus dominates the diet, indicating the potential for limitation by P. 3. The analysis highlights the importance of P, as well as C, in maintenance metabolism and the overall metabolic budget, such that food quality is of importance even when intake is low. Further measurements of C and P metabolism at low food, in particular basal respiration and excretion rates, are needed in order to improve our understanding of the interacting roles of food quantity and quality in zooplankton nutrition.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2005.01450.x
ISSN: 0046-5070
Date made live: 09 Feb 2006 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/119350

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