Mixotrophic organisms combine autotrophic and heterotrophic nutrition and are abundant in both freshwater and marine environments. Recent observations indicate that mixotrophs constitute a large fraction of the biomass, bacterivory, and primary production in oligotrophic environments. While mixotrophy allows greater flexibility in terms of resource acquisition, any advantage must be traded off against an associated increase in metabolic costs, which appear to make mixotrophs uncompetitive relative to obligate autotrophs and heterotrophs.
In this study, Fanny Monteiro, Stephanie Dutkiewicz and Mick Follows, interpret the environmental controls on the global ocean diazotroph biogeography in the context of a three-dimensional global model with a self-organizing phytoplankton community.
Ward, B.A., S. Dutkiewicz, A.D. Barton and M.J. Follows (2011), Biophysical Aspects of Resource Acquisition and Competition in Algal Mixotrophs, The American Naturalist, Vol. 178, No. 1 (July 2011), pp. 98-112, doi: 10.1086/660284