, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 81-93
Date: 23 Apr 2007

Desmids and Biofilms of Freshwater Wetlands: Development and Microarchitecture

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Abstract

Freshwater wetlands constitute important ecosystems, and their benthic, attached microbial communities, including biofilms, represent key habitats that contribute to primary productivity, nutrient cycling, and substrate stabilization. In many wetland biofilms, algae constitute significant parts of the microbial population, yet little is known about their activities in these communities. An analysis of wetland biofilms from the Adirondack region of New York (USA) was performed with special emphasis on desmids, a group of evolutionarily advanced green algae commonly found in these habitats. Desmids constituted as much as 23.7% of the total algal and cyanobacterial flora of the biofilms during the July and August study periods. These algae represented some of the first eukaryotes to colonize new substrates, and during July their numbers correlated with fluctuations in general biofilm parameters such as biofilm thickness and dry weight as well as total carbohydrate. Significant numbers of bacteria were associated with both the EPS sheaths and cell wall surfaces of the desmids. Colonization of new substrates and development of biofilms were rapid and were followed by various fluctuations in microbial community structure over the short- and long-term observations. In addition to desmids, diatoms, filamentous green algae and transient non-motile phases of flagellates represented the photosynthetic eukaryotes of these biofilms.