MEPS 228:3-14 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps228003

Effects of inorganic and organic nutrient addition on a coastal microbial community (Isefjord, Denmark)

Stéphan Jacquet1,*, Harry Havskum2,**, T. Frede Thingstad3, Daniel Vaulot1

1Station Biologique, CNRS, INSU, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, BP 74, 29682 Roscoff Cedex, France
2The International Agency for
14C Determination, DHI, Agern Allé 11, 2970, Hørsholm, Denmark
3Department of Microbiology, University of Bergen, Jahnebakken 5, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Present addresses: *Station INRA d¹Hydrobiologie Lacustre, UMR CARRTEL, 75, Ave. de Corzent, BP 511, 74203 Thonon Cedex, France. E-mail: **Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Strandpromenaden 5, 3000 Helsingør, Denmark

ABSTRACT: Using flow cytometry (FCM), microbial populations were followed in a mesoscosm experiment manipulated with daily additions of mineral nutrients (as phosphates and nitrates in Redfield equilibrium), of degradable organic carbon (as glucose-C), or with the 2 treatments combined. Intensive sampling was performed in order to assess the short time-scale variability of the microbial community. Five autotrophic groups (including Synechococcus spp. and cryptophytes), 2 groups of heterotrophic bacteria, and 2 groups of viruses could be discriminated by FCM. The control enclosure (no addition) revealed that heterotrophic bacteria were carbon-limited. Synechococcus spp. abundance increased in the control, presumably because they experienced little competition from heterotrophic bacteria (which were C-limited) and from larger phytoplankton (which were not as efficient in nutrient uptake at low nutrient concentration and could not, therefore, sustain high growth rates). When N and P were added, however, larger-celled autotrophic populations were favoured. When glucose was added, alone or together with inorganic elements, the abundance of Synechococcus spp. and small eukaryotes was reduced, suggesting that, when released from C-limitation, heterotrophic bacteria are the best competitors for mineral nutrients. The addition of both inorganic and organic nutrients also enhanced cryptophytes in contrast to all other autotrophs, probably because of their heterotrophic capacity. Our results agree with recent evidence suggesting that heterotrophic bacteria are limited by both carbon and mineral nutrients, and demonstrate how this has important consequences for the success of their trophic neighbours in the microbial food web.


KEY WORDS: Carbon, Competition · Flow cytometry · Food web · Mesocosms · Picoplankton · Nutrients · Viruses


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