Confounding factors in algal phosphorus limitation experiments
Assessing algal nutrient limitation is critical for understanding the interaction of primary production and nutrient cycling in streams, and nutrient diffusing substrate (NDS) experiments are often used to determine limiting nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Unexpectedly, many experiments have also shown decreased algal biomass on NDS P treatments compared to controls. To address whether inhibition of algal growth results from direct P toxicity, NDS preparation artifacts, or environmental covariates, we first quantified the frequency of nutrient inhibition in published experiments. ...
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