Intraspecific diversity is a substantial part of biodiversity, yet little is known about its mainte-nance. Understanding mechanisms of intraspecific diversity shifts provides realistic detail about how phytoplankton communities evolve to new environmental conditions, a process especially important in times of climate change. Here, we aimed to identify factors that maintain genotype diversity and link the observed diversity change to measured phytoplankton morpho-functional traits Vmax and cell size of the species and genotypes. In an experimental setup, the two phytoplankton species Emiliania huxleyi and Chaetoceros affinis, each consisting of nine genotypes, were cultivated separately and together under different fluctuation and nutrient regimes. Their genotype composition was assessed after 49 and 91 days, and Shannon’s diversity index was calculated on the genotype level. We found that a higher intraspecific diversity can be maintained in the presence of a competitor, provided it has a substantial proportion to total biovolume. Both fluctuation and nutrient regime showed species-specific effects and especially structured genotype sorting of C. affinis. While we could relate species sorting with the measured traits, genotype diversity shifts could only be partly explained. The observed context dependency of genotype maintenance suggests that the evolutionary potential could be better understood, if studied in more natural settings including fluctuations and competition.
Maintenance of Intraspecific Diversity in Response to Species Competition and Nutrient Fluctuations / Hamer, J.; Matthiessen, B.; Pulina, S.; Hattich, G. S. I.. - In: MICROORGANISMS. - ISSN 2076-2607. - 10:1(2022), p. 113. [10.3390/microorganisms10010113]