Microbial Ecology

, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 501–519 | Cite as

Role of Prokaryotic Biomasses and Activities in Carbon and Phosphorus Cycles at a Coastal, Thermohaline Front and in Offshore Waters (Gulf of Manfredonia, Southern Adriatic Sea)

  • L. S. MonticelliEmail author
  • G. Caruso
  • F. Decembrini
  • C. Caroppo
  • F. Fiesoletti
Microbiology of Aquatic Systems


The Western areas of the Adriatic Sea are subjected to inputs of inorganic nutrients and organic matter that can modify the trophic status of the waters and consequently, the microbiological processes involved in the carbon and phosphorus biogeochemical cycles, particularly in shallow coastal environments. To explore this topic, a survey was carried out during the spring of 2003 in a particular hydrodynamic area of the Gulf of Manfredonia, where the potential (P) and real (R) rates of four different microbial exoenzymatic activities (EEA) (α [αG] and ß glucosidases [ßG], leucine aminopeptidase [LAP], and alkaline phosphatase [AP]) as well as the P and R rates of prokaryotic heterotrophic production (PHP), AP as well as the P and R rates of PHP, primary production (PPnet), the prokaryotic and phototrophic stocks and basic hydrological parameters were examined. Three different water masses were found, with a thermohaline front (THF) being detected between the warmer and less saline coastal waters and colder and saltier offshore Adriatic waters. Under the general oligotrophic conditions of the entire Gulf, a decreasing gradient from the coastal toward the offshore areas was detected, with PHP, PPnet, stocks and EEA (αG, ßG, AP) being directly correlated with the temperature and inversely correlated with the salinity, whereas opposite relationships were observed for LAP activity. No enhancement of microbiological activities or stocks was observed at the THF. The use of P or R rates of microbiological activities, which decrease particularly for EEA, could result in discrepancies in interpreting the efficiency of several metabolic processes.


Offshore Area Offshore Water Prokaryotic Community Deep Chlorophyll Maximum Leucine Uptake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank the captain and the crew of the R/V Urania and all the colleagues who helped in the field. The study was performed within the Cluster 10 - SAM Program Advanced Monitoring Systems funded by the Italian National Ministry for Scientific Research. Special thanks are also due to two anonymous reviewers for their substantial comments and suggestions which improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. S. Monticelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. Caruso
    • 1
  • F. Decembrini
    • 1
  • C. Caroppo
    • 2
  • F. Fiesoletti
    • 3
  1. 1.CNR-Institute for Coastal Marine Environment: Section of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.CNR-Institute for Coastal Marine Environment: Section of TarantoTarantoItaly
  3. 3.CNR-ISMAR Section of LesinaLesinaItaly

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