Light-induced mass turnover in a mono-species community of mixotrophs

Kooijman, S.A.L.M., Dijkstra, H.A. and Kooi, B.W. 2002. Light-induced mass turnover in a mono-species community of mixotrophs. J. Theoret. Biol., 214: 233 - 254.


We formulate a simple model for growth of a facultative photoautotroph with chemoheterotrophic capabilities. The organism is described by zero, one or three reserve components, and one structural component, all taken to be generalized compounds. The rules of Synthesizing Units are used for interactions among the uptake processes of the various nutrients and light (parallel processing), and for the merging of autotrophic and heterotrophic activities (sequential processing). For simplicity's sake, we focus on the assimilation of inorganic carbon, inorganic nitrogen and light, and of two organic compounds (dead reserves and dead structure) that originate from aging. The process of resource recycling in a closed environment, as driven by light, and its links with community's structure (amount of biomass) is analysed in this simplest of all communities. Explicit analytical expressions for the steady states show how structure and function depend on the system parameters light, total carbon and total nitrogen. The behaviour resembles the Monod model for the Canonical Community, a three-species ecosystem consisting of producers, consumers and decomposers. If trophic preferences of a mixotroph are allowed to follow a random walk across generations, a trophic structure evolves where mixotrophs coexist with auto- and heterotrophs. Depth profiles are presented for the implied steady state concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon and nitrogen.

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