Microbial Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 203–217 | Cite as

Dynamics of microbial biomass and activity in five habitats of the Okefenokee Swamp ecosystem

  • Mary Ann Moran
  • A. E. Maccubbin
  • Ronald Benner
  • Robert E. Hodson


A variety of freshwater marsh and swamp habitats are found interspersed in a mosaic pattern throughout the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA. We examined spatial and temporal patterns in standing stocks and activity in the microbial community of five habitats within this heterogeneous ecosystem. Standing stock dynamics were studied by measuring microbial biomass (ATP) and bacterial numbers (AODC) in both water and sediments over a 14 month period. Abundance varied temporally, being generally lower in winter months than in spring and summer months. However, a large proportion of the measured variability was not correlated with temporal patterns in temperature or with bulk nutrient levels. Spatial variability was characteristic of the Okefenokee at a variety of large and small scales. Habitat-level heterogeneity was evident when microbial standing stocks and activity (measured as [14C]lignocellulose mineralization) were compared across the five communities, although abundance differences among sites were restricted to nonwinter months when microbial biomass was high. Spatial variation within habitats was also found; patches of surface sediment with differing microbial activity or abundance were measured at scales from 30 cm to 150 m.


Biomass Microbial Community Spatial Variation Microbial Biomass Nature Conservation 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ann Moran
    • 1
  • A. E. Maccubbin
    • 2
  • Ronald Benner
    • 1
  • Robert E. Hodson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Experimental BiologyRoswell Park Memorial InstituteBuffaloUSA

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