Article

Microbial Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 245-256

First online:

Nutrient and Temperature Limitation of Bacterioplankton Growth in Temperate Lakes

  • K. VredeAffiliated withLimnology/Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University Email author 

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Abstract

Limitation of bacterioplankton production by nutrients and temperature was investigated in eight temperate lakes in summer. Six of the lakes were resampled in autumn. The lakes differ in nutrient content, water color, and concentration of dissolved organic carbon. Nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen, and organic carbon) were added alone and in all possible combinations to filtered lake water inoculated with bacteria from the lake. After incubation for 36–40 h at in situ temperatures (ranging from 7 to 20°C), the response in bacterioplankton production was determined. The effect of increased temperature on bacterioplankton growth was also tested. Bacterioplankton production was often limited by phosphorus alone, organic carbon alone, or the two in combination. Phosphorus limitation of bacterioplankton production was more common in the summer, whereas limitation by organic carbon was more frequently observed in the autumn. There was a close balance between limitation by phosphorus and organic carbon in the epilimnion in the summer. In the hypolimnion in the summer, bacterioplankton growth was primarily phosphorus-limited. The effect of phosphorus additions decreased with increasing phosphorus concentrations in the lakes. However, there were no correlations between the effect of added organic carbon and water color, dissolved organic carbon concentration, or phosphorus concentration. When temperature was low (in the hypolimnion in the summer, and throughout the water column in the autumn) temperature also limited bacterioplankton production. Thus, temperature and inorganic nutrients or organic compounds can limit bacterioplankton growth both alone and simultaneously. However, at low temperatures, temperature is the most important factor influencing bacterioplankton growth.