, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 1-9
Date: 22 Jun 2006

Assessing Primary and Bacterial Production Rates in Biofilms on Pebbles in Ishite Stream, Japan

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Abstract

Various measurements of microbial productivity in streambed pebble biofilms were analyzed almost monthly for 1 year to quantify the importance of primary production as an autochthonous source of organic matter utilized to support heterotrophic bacterial production in the dynamic food web within this natural microbial habitat. Bacterial density varied from 0.3 × 108 to 1.4 × 108 cells cm−2, and chlorophyll a concentration ranged from 0.7 to 25.9 μg cm−2, with no coupled oscillation between seasonal changes in these two parameters. In bottle incubation experiments, the instantaneous bacterial growth rate of bacteria was significantly correlated with their production rate [measured by frequency of dividing cells (FDC)] as follows: ln μ = 0.138FDC − 3.003 (n = 15, r 2 = 0.445, p < 0.001). FDC values in the pebble biofilms increased with fluctuations during the study period, ranging from 3.6% to 9.2%. Bacterial production rates largely fluctuated between 0.15 to 0.92 μg C cm−2 h−1, and its seasonal pattern was similar to that of bacterial density. Net primary production measured between May 2002 to November 2002 attained minimum level (0.5 μg C cm−2 h−1) in June and maximum level (1.9 μg C cm−2 h−1) in August. Percentages of bacterial production to net primary production ranged between 21% and 120%. Because this ratio extends both below and above 100% for these parameters, it is likely that both autochthonous and allochthonous supplies of organic matter are important for production of bacteria in the pebble biofilms that develop in rapidly flowing fresh water streams.