Received: 09 Oct 2009 – Discussion started: 11 Nov 2009
Abstract. Nutrient enrichment experiments were carried out in the Central Indian Ocean during the Chinese First Around-the world Research Cruise, adding nitrate, phosphate, or a mixture of both of them to surface seawater. The concentration of nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and phosphate were analyzed spectrophotometrically, the chlorophyll-a concentration with fluorescence analysis, and the temperature variation during the experiment recorded. Addition of nitrate resulted in rapid growth of phytoplankton concomitant with depletion of nitrate in the water samples. No apparent variation occurred in chlorophyll-a concentration when phosphate was added. Combining nitrate and phosphate proved to be best to promote phytoplankton bloom, and nitrate was depleted prior to phosphate. After nitrate was consumed, a substantial amount of phytoplankton survived on the supplied phosphate. No correlation was found between the nitrate to phosphate ratio and chlorophyll-a or phytoplankton growth rate. We also found no correlation between water temperature and chlorophyll-a or phytoplankton growth rate. We conclude that neither nitrate to phosphate ratio nor water temperature control the growth of phytoplankton.
How to cite. Tang, S., Jiang, L., and Wu, Z. J.: Adding nitrate and phosphate separately or together in the Central Indian Ocean: a nutrient enrichment experiment, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 6, 2649–2666, https://doi.org/10.5194/osd-6-2649-2009, 2009.