Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 72, Issue 4, pp 577–587 | Cite as

Bacterial growth rate and the relative abundance of bacteria to heterotrophic nanoflagellates in the euphotic and disphotic layers in temperate coastal waters of Sagami Bay, Japan

  • Youta Sugai
  • Kenji Tsuchiya
  • Victor S. Kuwahara
  • Shinji Shimode
  • Kazuhiro Komatsu
  • Akio Imai
  • Tatsuki Toda
Original Article


This study aimed to clarify the vertical differences in bacterial growth and grazing pressure on bacteria by heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF) and to identify the controlling factors of bacterial growth in temperate coastal waters of Sagami Bay, Japan. In addition to environmental factors, the annual monthly variations in bacterial growth rate (BGR) and the relative abundance of bacteria to HNF (BA/HNFA) were investigated in the euphotic and disphotic layers between May 2012 and May 2013. Significant vertical differences in BGR and BA/HNFA were evident between the two layers during the thermal stratification times of May to October 2012 and April to May 2013. BGR indicated significantly stronger limitation of bacterial growth in the euphotic layer compared to the disphotic layer. In contrast, significantly lower BA/HNFA was observed in the euphotic layer, suggesting significantly higher grazing pressure on bacteria by HNF. However, significant differences in BGR and BA/HNFA were not observed between the two layers from November 2012 to Match 2013, when the water column was well-mixed vertically due to the cooling and wind-induced mixing of surface water. This study indicates that bacteria in the euphotic layer grow less actively and are more vulnerable to predatory grazing by HNF relative to the disphotic layer during the stratification period. Further, multiple regression analyses indicate that bacterial growth was most controlled by the concentrations of chlorophyll a and dissolved organic carbon in the euphotic and disphotic layers, respectively.


Heterotrophic bacteria Growth rate Grazing pressure Heterotrophic nanoflagellate Microbial loop Euphotic layer Disphotic layer Temperate coastal water 



We are grateful to T. Kikuchi (Yokohama National University) for his support in field sampling. We also express our gratitude to K. Hamasaki (The University of Tokyo) and Y. Tada (Hokkaido University) for their support in sample analysis.


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youta Sugai
    • 1
  • Kenji Tsuchiya
    • 1
  • Victor S. Kuwahara
    • 1
  • Shinji Shimode
    • 2
  • Kazuhiro Komatsu
    • 3
  • Akio Imai
    • 3
  • Tatsuki Toda
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of EngineeringSoka UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Environment and Information ScienceYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan

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