Multivariate trait analysis reveals diatom plasticity constrained to a reduced set of biological axes

Phoebe Argyle, Nathan G. Walworth, Jana Hinners, Sinéad Collins, Naomi M. Levine & Martina A. Doblin
Trait-based approaches to phytoplankton ecology have gained traction in recent decades as phenotypic traits are incorporated into ecological and biogeochemical models. Here, we use high-throughput phenotyping to explore both intra- and interspecific constraints on trait combinations that are expressed in the cosmopolitan marine diatom genus Thalassiosira. We demonstrate that within Thalassiosira, phenotypic diversity cannot be predicted from genotypic diversity, and moreover, plasticity can create highly divergent phenotypes that are incongruent with taxonomic grouping. Significantly, multivariate...
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