Microbial Ecology

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 323–330 | Cite as

Seasonal selection in a freshwater heterotrophic bacterial community

  • Jimmy N. Trentham
  • Ted R. James


The objective of this study was to determine if a seasonal selection could be demonstrated in the heterotrophic component of a freshwater bacterial community. Surface samples were taken at approximately monthly intervals covering an annual seasonal cycle, and counts were made of the numbers of bacteria capable of growing at each of 10 incubation temperatures from 0° to 45°C at 5°C intervals. Evidence for seasonal selection was provided by a 6°C shift in the mean temperature of the counts from the summer sample to the winter sample. The selection was even more evident when the number of organisms capable of growing at 10°C and those capable of growing at 35°C were compared over the seasonal cycle. The counts at these two incubation temperatures varied inversely to each other. Although a negligible number of organisms from a representative summer sample grew at 10°C, 18% of the organisms from a representative winter sample grew at this temperature. The data of this study indicate that, although seasonal selection does occur, the magnitude of that selection is not great enough to permit the growth of bacteria during the coldest month to approach the levels of growth observed during the summer months. However, the selection appears to be adequate to permit significant activity during the spring and fall transition months.


Bacterial Community Surface Sample Nature Conservation Significant Activity Seasonal Cycle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jimmy N. Trentham
    • 1
  • Ted R. James
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Tennessee at MartinMartinUSA

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