AME 39:205-209 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/ame039205

Low consumption of virus-sized particles by heterotrophic nanoflagellates in two lakes of the French Massif Central

Y. Bettarel1,*, T. Sime-Ngando2, M. Bouvy1, R. Arfi1, C Amblard2

1Centre IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) de Bel Air, UR 167 CYROCO, BP 1386, Dakar, Senegal
2Laboratoire de Biologie des Protistes, UMR CNRS 0623, Université Blaise Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand II), 63177 Aubière Cedex, France

ABSTRACT: Seasonal and depth-related variability in the grazing activity of heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF) on viruses was examined in the oligo-mesotrophic Lake Pavin and in the eutrophic Lake Aydat, French Massif Central, between May and November 2000. Ingestion rates (IR) were determined using 50 nm diameter fluorescent microspheres, as virus analogues. In both lakes, highest grazing activities on virus-sized particles were recorded in the metalimnion, at the beginning and the end of the thermal stratification period. Estimated IRs in Lake Pavin (mean = 0.4 viruses HNF–1 h–1, CV = 38.0%) and in Lake Aydat (mean = 0.3 viruses HNF–1 h–1, CV = 35.6%) were not significantly different, in contrast to clearance rates (CR), which were significantly higher in the oligomesotrophic (2.3 × 10–2 nl HNF–1 h–1) than in the eutrophic lake (0.7 × 10–2 nl HNF–1 h–1). CRs for viruses were correlated with CRs for bacteria in Lake Aydat but not in Lake Pavin, suggesting a greater abundance within the HNF assemblages of virus-sized particle feeders in the less productive lake. We estimated that 4.1 and 0.8% of viral production were grazed by HNF in Lake Pavin and Lake Aydat, respectively. Finally, although viruses seem to represent a minor food source for HNF (i.e. compared to bacteria), they may not be inconsequential in their diet, especially in oligotrophic lakes.

KEY WORDS: Lakes · Viruses · Heterotrophic nanoflagellates · Microbial food web · Predation

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