Bottle incubations of a North Sea phytoplankton community exposed to acute vs. gradual temperature increases and different timings of nutrient addition across various nitrogen:phosphorus ratios


To determine the effect of the rate of temperature increase (acute vs. gradual) and magnitude as well as the timing of nutrient addition on a natural marine phytoplankton community, a bottle incubation experiment has been conducted at the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The community was collected at the Helgoland Roads long-term time series site in the German part of the North Sea ( on the 6ᵗʰ of March 2022. The surface water containing the phytoplankton community was collected from the RV HEINCKE with a pipe covered with a 200 µm net attached to a diaphragm pump. In the first experimental run, the community was exposed to either gradual or acute temperature increase (from 6 to either 12 or 18°C) with 25 different N:P supply ratios added as a batch at the beginning of the bottle incubation. Simultaneously, the same community was gradually acclimated to their experimental temperatures under ambient nutrients and was used in a second experimental run in which it received the same 25 different N:P supply ratios after temperature acclimation. The light conditions were set to 175 µmol s-1 m-2 and a day-night cycle of 12h:12h which corresponds to the natural conditions at that time of the year. With this, it was possible to test the effect of a gradual vs. acute temperature increase and the timing of nutrient addition i.e., before or after the temperature change. This experimental set-up summed up to 400 units (8 temperature treatments x 5 nitrogen levels x 5 phosphorus levels x 2 replicates). Each experimental run was ended after 12 days. Fluorescence (395/680 Exc./Em.) was measured every second day using a SYNERGY H1 microplate reader (BioTek®) to determine phototrophic growth over time. At the end of each experiment, one replicate was filtered onto pre-combusted acid-washed glass microfiber filters (WHATMAN® GF/C) for intracellular carbon (POC), nitrogen (PON), and phosphorus (POP) content. The POP filters were pre-combusted and then analysed by molybdate reaction after digestion with a potassium peroxydisulfate solution (Wetzel and Likens 2003). The POC and PON filters were dried at 60°C before they were measured in an elemental analyser (Flash EA 1112, Thermo Scientific, Walthman, MA, USA).

Growth rate, linear: Fluorescence (395/680 Exc./Em.) was measured every second day using a SYNERGY H1 microplate reader (BioTek®). Linear growth rates (/day) were calculated manually as the slope of a linear regression based on the following equation: r=(ln(Nt1)-ln(Nt0))/(t1-t0). N = fluorescence at the chosen start (t0) and endpoint (t1) of the experimental run. The start and end point were chosen visually as the interval between the end of the lag phase and before the biomass of the first samples within a temperature treatment collapsed. Based on this, the calculation has been done between days 2 and 8 for the three acute temperature exposure treatments in the first run, between days 4 and 10 for the treatments experiencing a gradual temperature increase in the first run, and days 2 to 6 for the second experimental run.

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Creator Happe, Anika ORCID logo; Ahme, Antonia (ORCID: 0000-0003-1201-009X); John, Uwe ORCID logo; Neun, Sebastian; Striebel, Maren ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2023
Funding Reference Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres Crossref Funder ID Changing-Earth_Subtopic_6.2 Adaptation of marine life: From genes to ecosystems; Horizon 2020 Crossref Funder ID 871081 AQUACOSM-plus: Network of Leading Ecosystem Scale Experimental AQUAtic MesoCOSM Facilities Connecting Rivers, Lakes, Estuaries and Oceans in Europe and beyond
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International; Data access is restricted (moratorium, sensitive data, license constraints);
OpenAccess false
Resource Type Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 6800 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (7.900 LON, 54.183 LAT); North Sea