Feedback on Phosphate

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Phytoplankton Plundering of Phosphate

The phosphorus model is the simplest of all the ocean models. All phytoplankton require phosphorus in order to live. The synthesis of new algal cells is not possible in the absence of phosphorus in the environment. The phosphorus model makes the assumption that all other required resources are present in sufficient quantity and that it is phosphorus scarcity that sets the limit to the proliferation of phytoplankton. Therefore growth is limited only by phosphate in this model.

This stabilising feedback is part of wider pattern whereby phytoplankton removal keeps certain elements at anomalously low concentrations in seawater (click here for further explanation).

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