The coccolithophore Calcidiscus leptoporus was grown in batch culture under nitrogen (N) as well as phosphorus (P) limitation. Growth rate, particulate inorganic carbon (PIC), particulate organic carbon (POC), particulate organic nitrogen (PON), and particulate organic phosphorus (POP) production were determined and coccolith morphology was analysed. While PON production decreased by 70% under N-limitation and POP production decreased by 65% under P-limitation, growth rate decreased by 33% under N- as well as P-limitation. POC as well as PIC production (calcification rate) increased by 27% relative to the control under P-limitation, and did not change under N-limitation. Coccolith morphology did not change in response to either P or N limitation. While these findings, supported by a literature survey, suggest that coccolith morphogenesis is not hampered by either P or N limitation, calcification rate might be. The latter conclusion is in apparent contradiction to our data. We discuss the reasons for this inference.
Langer G., Oetjen K., & Brenneis T., 2012. Calcification of Calcidiscus leptoporus under nitrogen and phosphorus limitation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 413:131-137. Article (subscription required).