AME 41:261-270 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/ame041261

Effects of the colonial cyanobacterium Trichodesmium spp. on bacterial activity

Florent Renaud1,2, Olivier Pringault1, Emma Rochelle-Newall1,*

1Centre IRD Noumea, BP A5, Promenade Roger Laroque, 98848 Nouméa Cedex, New Caledonia
2Present address: International Atomic Energy Agency, Marine Environment Laboratory (IAEA-MEL), 4 Quai Antoine 1er, 98000 Monaco, Principality of Monaco
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We measured rates of particulate and dissolved primary production (DOCp) as well as bacterial production (BP) in order to determine the effect of freshly produced photosynthates onheterotrophic bacteria. During a 1 mo study carried out on samples from the southwestern lagoon of New Caledonia, we observed 2 different phytoplanktonic communities. The first was a mixed community, dominated by diatoms and with a low abundance of Trichodesmium spp. (10% total phytoplankton cells) and the second community was dominated by Trichodesmium spp. (up to 98% total phytoplankton cells). Chlorophyll a normalised total (particulate + dissolved) primary production rates were twice as high in the mixed community compared to the Trichodesmium spp. dominated community. The percentage of extracellular release (PER), calculated as the percentage of DOCp divided by total primary production (TOCp), reached 8% in the mixed community; in contrast, rates were much lower in the Trichodesmium spp. community and remained close to 1%. In terms of BP, activities were higher in the mixed community and were generally higher in light incubations than in the dark. In contrast, in the Trichodesmium spp. dominated community, bacterial activity was much lower and decreased with increasing Trichodesmium spp. abundance. This decrease in bacterial activity could not be explained by a decrease in bacterial abundance. This suggests that the proportion of active bacteria was much lower during the Trichodesmium spp. bloom.


KEY WORDS: Dissolved primary production · Bacterial–phytoplankton coupling · Bacterial production


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