Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 867–878 | Cite as

Balance between primary and bacterial production in North Patagonian shallow lakes

  • Marcela Bastidas NavarroEmail author
  • Beatriz Modenutti
  • Cristiana Callieri
  • Roberto Bertoni
  • Esteban Balseiro


The shallow Andean North Patagonian lakes are suitable environments for the evaluation of autotrophic and heterotrophic production under a scenario of high radiation in high dissolved organic matter (DOM) systems. We aimed to study the balance between primary and bacterial production in three shallow Andean lakes, in a summer sampling (high irradiance condition). Our hypothesis is that two factors would interact: high light and high DOM, affecting bacteria and algae. We carried out experiments of bacterial production (BP) by measuring [14C]-l-leucine incorporation and PP by 14C uptake in two fractions: picophytoplankton and phytoplankton >2 μm. Cell abundance, chlorophyll a, nutrients, DOM, light, and temperature were also measured. The contribution of picophytoplankton to total primary production (PP) was, in general, very high exceeding 50%. Picophytoplankton was photosynthetically more efficient than the larger autotrophs in all lakes. We observed a decrease in PP at surface levels due the high solar irradiances, while BP was not affected. Changes in the PP:BP ratios were observed in relation to DOM content and light effect. Our data indicate that the amount of available DOM drives the balance between PP and BP. However, solar radiation should be included as an important factor since PP:BP ratio may decrease because of PP photoinhibition.


Picophytoplankton Phytoplankton >2 μm Bacterioplankton Primary and bacterial production Dissolved organic matter Shallow Andean lakes 



This work was carried out in a framework of collaboration projects CONICET-CNR and SECYT-MAE (Argentina-Italy) and was supported by FONCyT 01-13395 and CONICET PIP 6507. We thank Dr. Andrés Venturino, LIBIQUIMA, Universidad Nacional del Comahue at Neuquén, for laboratory facilities. We thank three anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcela Bastidas Navarro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Beatriz Modenutti
    • 1
  • Cristiana Callieri
    • 2
  • Roberto Bertoni
    • 2
  • Esteban Balseiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de LimnologíaINIBIOMA (UNC-CONICET)BarilocheArgentina
  2. 2.Institute of Ecosystem StudyCNRVerbania PallanzaItaly

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