Brief Communications Arising | Published:

Can algal uptake stop NO3 pollution?

Nature volume 477, page E3 (29 September 2011) | Download Citation


Arising from Cardinale, B. J. Nature 472, 86–89 (2011)10.1038/nature09904

The influence of biodiversity on ecosystem function has been of interest to community ecologists for decades. Recently, Cardinale1 reported that biodiversity affects nitrate (NO3) uptake in algal communities and that, as a result, biodiversity may help mitigate nutrient pollution. Although Cardinale’s conclusions about niche partitioning are interesting (figure 2 in ref. 1), his extension of these findings to problems of nutrient pollution is premature. Algal uptake is only a short-term nitrogen sink; control of NO3 pollution requires long-term solutions.

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Author information


  1. *Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

    • Helen M. Baulch
    •  & Emily H. Stanley
  2. †Biology Department, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA

    • Emily S. Bernhardt


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All authors contributed to writing and revising this paper.

Competing interests

Competing financial interests: declared none.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Helen M. Baulch.

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