, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 99-118

The effect of temperature and algal biomass on bacterial production and specific growth rate in freshwater and marine habitats

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Abstract

We analyzed heterotrophic, pelagic bacterial production and specific growth rate data from 57 studies conducted in fresh, marine and estuarine/coastal waters. Strong positive relationships were identified between 1) bacterial production and bacterial abundance and 2) bacterial production and algal biomass. The relationship between bacterial production and bacterial abundance was improved by also considering water temperature. The analysis of covariance model revealed consistent differences between fresh, marine and estuarine/coastal waters, with production consistently high in estuarine/coastal environments. The log-linear regression coefficient of abundance was not significantly different from 1.00, and this linear relationship permitted the use of specific growth rate (SGR in day−1) as a dependent variable. A strong relationship was identified between specific growth rate and temperature. This relationship differed slightly across the three habitats. A substantial portion of the residual variation from this relationship was accounted for by algal biomass, including the difference between marine and estuarine/coastal habitats. A small but significant difference between the fresh- and saltwater habitats remained. No significant difference between the chlorophyll effect in different habitats was identified. The model of SGR against temperature and chlorophyll was much weaker for freshwater than for marine environments. For a small subset of the data set, mean cell volume accounted for some of the residual variation in SGR. Pronounced seasonality, fluctuations in nutrient quality, and variation of the grazing environment may contribute to the unexplained variation in specific growth.