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Data from: Molecular underpinnings and biogeochemical consequences of enhanced diatom growth in a warming Southern Ocean Jabre, Loay; Allen, Andrew E.; McCain, J. Scott P.; McCrow, John P.; Tenenbaum, Nancy; Spackeen, Jenna L.; Sipler, Rachel E.; Green, Beverley R.; Bronk, Deborah A.; Hutchins, David A.; Bertrand, Erin M.

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Abstract

The Southern Ocean (SO) harbours some of the most intense phytoplankton blooms on Earth. Changes in temperature and iron availability are expected to alter the intensity of SO phytoplankton blooms, but little is known about how environmental change will influence community composition and downstream biogeochemical processes. We performed experimental manipulations on surface ocean microbial communities from McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea, with and without iron addition, at -0.5 °C, 3 °C, and 6 °C. We then examined nutrient uptake patterns as well as the growth and molecular responses of two dominant diatoms, Fragilariopsis and Pseudo-nitzschia, to these conditions. We found that nitrate uptake and primary productivity were elevated at increased temperature in the absence of iron addition, and were even greater at high temperature with added iron. Pseudo-nitzschia became more abundant under increased temperature without added iron, while Fragilariopsis required additional iron to benefit from warming. We attribute the apparent advantage Pseudo-nitzschia shows under warming to upregulation of iron-conserving photosynthetic processes, utilization of iron-economic nitrogen assimilation mechanisms, and increased iron uptake and storage. These data identify important molecular and physiological differences between dominant diatom groups and add to the growing evidence for the increasingly important role of Pseudo-nitzschia in warming SO ecosystems. This study also suggests that temperature-driven shifts in SO phytoplankton assemblages may increase utilization of the vast pool of excess nutrients in iron-limited SO surface waters, and thereby influence global nutrient distributions and carbon cycle.

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