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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-194
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-194
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 24 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

The haplo-diplontic life cycle expands niche space of coccolithophores

Joost de Vries1,2, Fanny Monteiro1, Glen Wheeler2, Alex Poulton3, Jelena Godrijan4, Federica Cerino5, Elisa Malinverno6,7, Gerald Langer2, and Colin Brownlee2,8 Joost de Vries et al.
  • 1BRIDGE, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol BS8 1SS, UK
  • 2Marine Biological Association, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
  • 3The Lyell Centre for Earth Marine Science Technology, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
  • 4Division for Marine and Environmental Research, Ru ̄der Boškovi ́c Institute, Bijeniˇcka cesta 54, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
  • 5Oceanography Section, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale - OGS, via Piccard 54, 34151 Trieste, Italy
  • 6University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Earth and Environmenal Sciences, Piazza della Scienza, 4 - 20126 Milano, Italy
  • 7Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare - CoNISMa, Piazzale Flaminio 9 - 00196 Roma, Italy
  • 8School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK

Abstract. Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases, and has been proposed to allow coccolithophores to expand their niche space. To-date research has however largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores, and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase. Through a synthesis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n = 2534), we show that the haploid life cycle phase contributes significantly to coccolithophore abundance, constituting ≈18 % of species abundance for which haploid-diploid pairs are defined. Using hypervolumes to quantify the niche space of coccolithophores, we furthermore show that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches, and that this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche space by ≈17 %. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology.

Joost de Vries et al.

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Joost de Vries et al.

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Latest update: 07 Jul 2020
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Short summary
Coccolithophores are important calcifying phytoplankton with an overlooked life cycle. We compile a global dataset of marine coccolithophore abundance to investigate the environmental characteristics of each life cycle phase. We find that both phases contribute to coccolithophore abundance and that their different environmental preference increases coccolithophore habitat. Accounting for the life cycle of coccolithophores is thus crucial for understanding their ecology and biogeochemical impact.
Coccolithophores are important calcifying phytoplankton with an overlooked life cycle. We...
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