Microbial Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 245–256 | Cite as

Nutrient and Temperature Limitation of Bacterioplankton Growth in Temperate Lakes



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.



Ulrika Stensdotter-Blomberg, Jan Johansson, Sandra Lindahl, Isabell Olevall, and Björn Vrede are acknowledged for help with fieldwork and/or analyses in the laboratory. Eva Lindström and Tobias Vrede and two anonymous reviewers are acknowledged for constructive comments on the manuscript. This study was financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenbergs Foundation, the Helge Ax:son Johnssons Foundation, the Foundation of Oscar and Lili Lamms Minne, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Limnology/Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversitySweden

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