Going Vertical: The Influence of Irradiance, Mixing, Sinking, and Benthic Flux on Species Supersaturated Phytoplankton Assemblages in a One-Dimensional Water Column Framework
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Theoretical research discusses neutral, lumpy, and intransitive dynamics as mechanisms influencing species richness. Our research here focused on the effects on richness and diversity on both the α and β levels of disturbances (diminishing light availability throughout the water column, nutrient flux from the benthos, particle sinking, vertical water mixing, and eddy diffusion) in these supersaturated systems. Our simulations incorporated 30 supersaturated phytoplankton assemblages distributed into a one-dimensional, ten-layer vertical water column. We found that overall, there was little difference between α and β level sensitivity for all assemblage types and that assemblages following intransitive dynamics had the most richness and diversity sensitivity to all disturbance types on both the α and β level. This aligns with previous research discussing neutral, lumpy, and intransitive dynamics and their robustness under disturbances. This research opens up a path for future work that explores in more detail the effects of various oceanic disturbances on phytoplankton richness and diversity.
Withrow, Frances Grace (2017). Going Vertical: The Influence of Irradiance, Mixing, Sinking, and Benthic Flux on Species Supersaturated Phytoplankton Assemblages in a One-Dimensional Water Column Framework. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from