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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 453- Feature article
Pre-filtration of water samples for elimination of zooplankton and phytoplankton causes overestimation of the bacterial contribution to community respiration in oligotrophic pelagic systems. Image: M. Aranguren-Gassis

Aranguren-Gassis M, Teira E, Serret P, Martínez-García S, Fernández E


Potential overestimation of bacterial respiration rates in oligotrophic plankton communities


Estimation of bacterial respiration rates is required for understanding carbon flux through marine plankton communities, especially in oligotrophic systems, where 70 to 90% of respiration is attributed to bacteria. Procedures for determining this rate are usually based on pre-filtration and incubation of seawater samples, and this is likely to bias bacterial respiration estimates, due to disruption of the microbial communities and/or changes in nutrient availability. Aranguren-Gassis and co-workers compared bacterial respiration in pre-filtered and non pre-filtered seawater samples, and found that standard procedures overestimate the contribution of bacteria to total community respiration, particularly in oligotrophic systems. When pre-filtration effects were excluded, bacterial contribution to community respiration was about 30%.


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