Marine Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 19–28 | Cite as

Distribution of colorless sulfur bacteria (Beggiatoa spp.) in a coastal marine sediment

  • B. B. Jørgensen


The populations of Beggiatoa species were quantified in the sediments of a brackish fjord (Limfjorden, Denmark) over a period of 1 year. The bacterial distribution was compared to the physical structure of the sediment, the redox profile, the concentration and production rate of H2S, and the rate of O2 consumption. The bacteria are absent in fine and in medium-grained sand, but in muds which are aggregated in faecal pellets very high population densities are found throughout the year with average biomasses of 5 to 20 g m-2. The bacteria seldom form coatings on the surface, but are distributed within the upper few centimeters of oxic sediment. They receive H2S partly from the lower anoxic layers and partly from reduced microniches scattered in the oxidized zone. Estimates of their metabolic rates indicate that Beggiatoa spp. may play a significant role in the sulfur and carbon cycles of the investigated sediments.


Sulfur Biomass Population Density Production Rate Metabolic Rate 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. B. Jørgensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and GeneticsUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark

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