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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 154:293-302 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps154293

Bacterial abundance, production and ectoproteolytic activity in the Strait of Magellan

Talbot V, Giuliano L, Bruni V, Bianchi M

Bacterial abundance, bacterial secondary production (BSP) and potential ectoproteolytic activity (PEA) were measured at 6 stations along the Strait of Magellan, South America, toward the end of summer 1995. Because of hydrological and climatic factors, 3 main areas could be identified in which the bacterial component displayed specific characteristics. In the Pacific Ocean side, subjected to freshwater inputs from rainfalls and melting of glaciers, the bacterial activities showed the highest values (BSP: 228.2 ng C l-1 h-1; PEA: 12.2 nmol l-1 h-1). The bacterial biomass was greater than the phytoplanktonic biomass, probably due to organic inputs from land stimulating the bacterial growth. The central part of the Strait demonstrated the lowest values (BSP: 32.6 ng C l-1 h-1, PEA: 4.6 nmol l-1 h-1), although the ratio of bacterial biomass to phytoplanktonic biomass was greater than 1. In the third area, the Atlantic Ocean opening, subjected to strong tidal currents, BSP and PEA displayed high values, 80 to 88.7 ng C l-1 h-1 and 11.7 nmol l-1 h-1 respectively. Nevertheless, the ratio of bacterial to phytoplanktonic biomass was less than 1, like in eutrophic areas. On the other hand, no impact of the tide was noted on bacterial parameters. Considering all samples measured in the 0 to 50 m layer, although BSP and PEA were positively correlated with bacterial abundance, the PEA to BSP ratio was negatively correlated with the bacterial biomass (r = -0.72, p < 0.001, n = 22). This ratio could be an indicator of trophic conditions in the 3 subsystems of the Strait.

Bacteria · Strait of Magellan · Ectoproteolytic activity · Environmental factors

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