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Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 513–525 | Cite as

Carbon quantity defines productivity while its quality defines community composition of bacterioplankton in subarctic ponds

  • Toni Roiha
  • Marja Tiirola
  • Matteo Cazzanelli
  • Milla Rautio
Research Article

Abstract

Bacterial communities in 16 oligotrophic ponds in Kilpisjärvi, subarctic Finland, were studied to test the hypothesis that dissolved organic carbon (DOC) quantity and quality differently influence bacterioplankton. The ponds were located below and above treeline at 600 m a.s.l., with 2–4 fold higher concentration of DOC below treeline. The concentration of DOC changed during the open-water season with highest values measured in mid-summer. Bacterial production, abundance, biomass were highest in mid-summer and correlated positively with the concentration of DOC. Quality indices of DOC showed that spring differed from the rest of the season. Highest specific UV-absorbance (SUVA) and humification index (HI), ratio a250/a265 and lowest fluorescence index (FI) were found during spring compared to summer and autumn, possibly indicating higher relative importance of allochthonous carbon during spring and a seasonal effect of photo-oxidation. According to Length Heterogeneity Polymerase Chain Reaction (LH-PCR) analyses, bacterial communities in spring were significantly different from those later in the season, possible due to the introduction of terrestrial bacteria associated with higher molecular weight material in spring DOC. Comparison between ponds situated above and below treeline revealed that bacteria were more abundant and productive at lower altitudes, which is probably connected to higher concentrations of DOC. The results also suggest that increased temperature and precipitation induced by global change and consequent higher allochthonous DOC runoff from the catchment could have a strong impact on biomass, productivity and community composition of micro-organisms in subarctic ponds and lakes.

Keywords

Subarctic DOC Ponds Bacterial biomass Bacterial production Bacterial community composition Allochthonous carbon 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Laura Forsström, Heather Mariash and Jonna Kuha for assistance in the field, Timo Marjomäki, Heikki Hämäläinen and Mathieu Cusson for advice on statistical analyses, and Roger Jones for comments on an earlier manuscript version. We thank Kilpisjärvi biological station for hospitability during field work. The study was supported by the Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica, the Haavikko Foundation, Lapland Atmosphere-Biosphere Facility and the Finnish Academy of Science (grants 119205 and 140775).

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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toni Roiha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marja Tiirola
    • 1
  • Matteo Cazzanelli
    • 3
  • Milla Rautio
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Département des sciences fondamentalesCentre for Northern Studies (CEN), Université du Québec à ChicoutimiQuébecCanada
  3. 3.Freshwater Biological LaboratoryUniversity of CopenhagenHillerødDenmark

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