Marine Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 247-256

First online:

Benthic response to sedimentation events during autumn to spring at a shallow water station in the Western Kiel Bight

II. Analysis of benthic bacterial populations
  • L.-A. Meyer-ReilAffiliated withInstitut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel

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Seasonal variations in bacterial populations (total number, biomass, biomass-spectrum, number of dividing cells) as well as in concentrations and decomposition rates of particulate organic material were followed in a sandy mud sediment of the Western Kiel Bight (Baltic Sea; FRG). The strong seasonal variations observed could be traced back to the effect of certain ecological situations and events in the sediment from which the input of the phytoplankton blooms in autumn and spring, respectively, the accumulation of organic material during winter, and the spring development of the benthic fauna turned out to be the most important. Bacterial carbon net production following the breakdown of the phytoplankton blooms ranged between 9 μg (autumn) and 16 μg (spring) per g of dry weight sediment per day. The consequences of shifts in the size composition of the bacterial populations as well as the importance of the measurement of enzymatic decomposition rates of particulate organic material in sediments are demonstrated and discussed in relation to the events mentioned above.