Polar Biology

, Volume 33, Issue 12, pp 1673–1682

Changes in Arctic marine bacterial carbon metabolism in response to increasing temperature

  • Emma S. Kritzberg
  • Carlos M. Duarte
  • Paul Wassmann
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-010-0799-7

Cite this article as:
Kritzberg, E.S., Duarte, C.M. & Wassmann, P. Polar Biol (2010) 33: 1673. doi:10.1007/s00300-010-0799-7


Arctic areas of deep-water convection have a large potential for export of organic carbon from surface waters into the deep sea and, therefore, are an important part of the global carbon cycle. As the Arctic is reportedly heating up faster than any other part of the planet, temperature-driven changes in the biogeochemical cycling in these areas can be very significant. Here, we study the regulation of bacterial carbon metabolism, which process vast amounts of organic carbon, by temperature and the availability of resources. The response of bacterial production and respiration of natural bacterial assemblages from the Fram Strait was studied by experimental manipulations of temperature and resources in combination. Both bacterial production and respiration were enhanced by temperature so that the total bacterial carbon demand increased sixfold following a temperature increase of 6°C. Respiration responded more strongly than production so that bacterial growth efficiency decreased with increasing temperature. Although neither production nor respiration was limited by resource availability under in situ conditions, the response to temperature was higher in resource-amended treatments, indicative of a substrate-temperature interaction regulating both components of bacterial metabolism. In conclusion, the results show that warming can result in a substantial increase of the carbon flow through bacteria and that most of the carbon consumed would be released as CO2. Moreover, the results suggest that both temperature and availability of resources need to be considered to accurately be able to predict changes in bacterial carbon metabolism in response to climate change.


Bacterial productionBacterial respirationBacterial growth efficiencyCarbon cyclingArcticTemperature effects

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma S. Kritzberg
    • 1
  • Carlos M. Duarte
    • 2
  • Paul Wassmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Limnology, Department of EcologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of Global Change Research, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB)Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios AvanzadosEsporles, Balearic IslandsSpain
  3. 3.Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and EconomyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway