Ecological Stoichiometry

Ecological Stoichiometry is the study of how elemental ratios affect ecological processes at scales from the cellular to the global. A good overview of the field can be found in Bob Sterner and Jim Elser's classic book, Ecological Stoichiometry (Princeton University Press 2002).

Our work on Ecological Stoichiometry began during our postdoctoral studies with Simon Levin (C. Klausmeier) and Paul Falkowski (E. Litchman). There, we focused on controls of phytoplankton stoichiometry, the evolution of the Redfield ratio, and how stoichiometry affects the structure of communities and the entire ocean ecosystem. Our interest in the area continues, as it is clear that elemental ratios play important roles in shaping plankton communities.


Lab Members

Christopher Klausmeier and Elena Litchman


Tanguy Daufresne (INRA, France), Paul Falkowski (Rutgers), Tim Lenton (UEA, UK), Simon Levin (Princeton)


Klausmeier, C.A., E. Litchman, T. Daufresne and S.A. Levin. 2004. Optimal N:P stoichiometry of phytoplankton. Nature, 429: 171-174.

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Litchman, E., C.A. Klausmeier and P. Bossard. 2004. Phytoplankton nutrient competition under dynamic light regimes. Limnology and Oceanography, 49: 1457-1462.

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Klausmeier, C.A., E. Litchman and S.A. Levin. 2004. Phytoplankton growth and stoichiometry under multiple nutrient limitation. Limnology and Oceanography, 49: 1463-1470.

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Kay, A.D., I.W. Ashton, E. Gorokhova, A.J. Kerkhoff, A. Liess and E. Litchman. 2005. Toward a stoichiometric framework for evolutionary biology. Oikos, 109: 6-17.

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Schade, J. D., J. F. Espeleta, C. A. Klausmeier, M. E. McGroddy, S. A. Thomas, and L. Zhang. 2005. A conceptual framework for ecosystem stoichiometry: balancing resource supply and demand. Oikos 109: 40-51.

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De Leenheer, P., S. A. Levin, E. D. Sontag, and C. A. Klausmeier. 2006. Global stability in a chemostat with multiple nutrients. Journal of Mathematical Biology 52: 419-438.

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Litchman, E., C.A. Klausmeier, J.R. Miller, O.M. Schofield and P.G. Falkowski. 2006. Multi-nutrient, multi-group model of present and future oceanic phytoplankton communities. Biogeosciences 3: 585-606.


Litchman, E. Resource competition and ecological success of phytoplankton. 2007. In: The Evolution of Primary Producers in the Sea, Eds. P.G. Falkowski and A.H. Knoll. pp. 351-375. Elsevier.


Financial Support

Falkowski, P. G., NSF, Biocomplexity Program.

Levin, S. A., 200?-200?. ?. NSF, Biocomplexity Program (DEB-0083566)

Last updated: March 13, 2009