Prochlorococcus in the lab and in silico: The importance of representing exudation

Michal Grossowicz, Dalit Roth-Rosenberg, Dikla Aharonovich, Jacob Silverman, Michael J. Follows, Daniel Sher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we test the applicability of the Droop/Caperon internal stores model to describe the growth and decline of the globally abundant marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus in batch culture as a function of internal and external inorganic and organic carbon and nitrogen. A rigorous parameter fitting exercise, constrained by the measured cell density, ammonium and inorganic carbon concentrations, revealed many different combinations of parameter values that provided equally good model-data fit. Introducing data on C : N ratio from the published literature provided additional constraints which could only be satisfied with a structural change to the model. The simplest addition that satisfied these constraints and improved quantitative overall model-data agreement was to explicitly represent excretion, which was predicted to account for 0.03–8.5% of the daily primary productivity; somewhat lower than previous estimates based on radiotracer incorporation. We argue that this significant and biologically meaningful process should not be neglected in models of marine phytoplankton.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-835
Number of pages18
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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