Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 121, Issue 1–3, pp 303–325 | Cite as

Monitoring of a Coastal Mediterranean Area: Culturable Bacteria, Phytoplankton, Environmental Factors and their Relationships in the Southern Adriatic Sea

  • Loredana StabiliEmail author
  • Carmela Caroppo
  • Rosa Anna Cavallo


Culturable heterotrophic bacterial and phytoplanktonic densities were investigated at four sites in the Southern Adriatic Sea (Brindisi, S. Cataldo, Otranto and S. M. di Leuca) over an annual cycle. The main phytoplankton groups, the bacterial biodiversity, as well as the faecal contamination indicators were determined. Culturable bacterial numbers averaged 4.8 ± 0.2 log CFU ml−1 whereas phytoplankton numbers averaged 2.1 ± 0.4 log cells ml−1. Relationships between culturable bacteria, phytoplankton and the environmental factors were established. Bacterial and phytoplankton densities usually depended significantly on temperature, dissolved oxygen, phosphate and nitrite only in the S. Cataldo transect. In all the examined transects phytoplankton showed a bloom during the January–February period followed by a bacterial peak during the February–March period. Thus we can suppose that the phytoplankton winter bloom is responsible for the availabily of organic matter for bacterial populations in the following months in this oligotrophic ecosystem.


monitoring culturable heterotrophic bacteria microbial contamination phytoplankton environmental factors water quality 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alkan, U. and Elliott, D. J. L. M.: 1995, “Survival of enteric bacteria in relation to simulated solar radiation and other environmental factors in marine waters”, Water Research 29, 2071–2081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Public Health Association: 1992, Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 18th edn. American Public Health Association: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. Azam, F., Fenchel, T., Field, J. G., Gray, J. S., Meyer-Reil, L. A. and Thingstad, F.: 1983, “The ecological role of water-column microbes in the sea', Marine Ecology Progress Series 10, 257–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bak, R. P. M., van Duyl, F. C. and Nieuwland, G.: 1995, “Organic sedimentation as forcing factors in marine benthic nanoflagellate communities”, Microbial Ecology 29, 173–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berman, T., Nawrocki, M., Taylor, G. T. and Karl, D. M.: 1987, “Nutrient flux between bacteria, bacterivorous nanoplanktonic protists and algae', Marine Microbial Food Webs 2, 69–82.Google Scholar
  6. Billen, G., Joiris, C., Meyer-Reil, L. A. and Lindebloom, H.: 1990, “Role of bacteria in the North Sea ecosystem”. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 6 (2–4), 265–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caroppo, C., Fiocca, A., Sammarco, P. and Magazzu, G.: 1999, “Seasonal variations of nutrients and phytoplankton in the coastal SW Adriatic Sea' (1995–1997), Botanica Marina 42, 389–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Caroppo, C., Stabili, L. and Cavallo, R. A.: 2003, “Diatoms and bacteria diversita: study of their relationships in the Southern Adriatic Sea”, Mediterranean Marine Science 4 (2), 73–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cavallo, R. A., Rizzi, C., Vozza, T. and Stabili, L.: 1999, “Viable heterotrophic bacteria in water and sediment in “Mar Piccolo” of Taranto' (Ionian Sea, Italy), Journal of Applied Microbiology 86, 906–916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cho, B. C. and Azam, F.: 1990, “Biogeochemical significance of bacterial biomass in the oceans' euphotic zone”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 63, 253–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Danovaro, R.: 2003, “Threats in the Mediterranean Sea: an overwiev”, Chemistry and Ecology 19, 15–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Delille, D., Fiala, M. and Rosiers, C.: 1995, “Seasonal changes in phytoplankton and bacterioplankton distribution at the ice-water interface in the Antarctic neritic area”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 123, 225–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DeLong, E. F., Franks, D. G. and Alldredge, A. L.: 1993, “Phylogenetic diversity of aggregate-attached vs. free-living marine bacterial assemblages”, Limnology and Oceanography 38, 924–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ducklow, H. W.: 1983, “Production and fate of bacteria in the oceans”, BioScience 33, 494–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ducklow, H. W. and Carlson, C. A.: 1992, “Oceanic bacterial production”, Advances in Microbial Ecology 12, 113–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fenchel, T.: 1988, “Marine plankton food chains”, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 19, 19–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fogg, G. E., Nalewajko, C. and Watt, W. D.: 1965, “Extracellular products of phytoplankton photosyntesis”, Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 162, 517–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fonda Umani, S., Franco, P., Ghirardelli, E. and Malej, A.: 1992, “Outline of oceanography and the plankton of the Adriatic Sea”, In: G. Colombo, I., Ferrari, V. U. Ceccherelli and R. Rossi (eds.), Marine Eutrophication and Population Dynamics, pp. 347–365. Olsen and Olsen, Fredensborg.Google Scholar
  19. Franco, P., Jeftic, L., Malanotte Rizzoli, P., Michelato and A., Orlic, M.: 1982, “Descriptive model of the Northern Adriatic”, Oceanologica Acta 5, 379–389.Google Scholar
  20. Fuhrman, J. A., Lee, S. H., Masuki, Y., Davis, A. A. and Wilcox, R. M.: 1994, “Characterization of marine procaryotic communities via DNA and RNA”, Microbial Ecology 28, 133–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gasol, J. M. and Vaqué, D.: 1993, “Lack of coupling between heterotrophic nanoflagellates and bacteria: a general phenomenon across aquatic system?”, Limnology and Oceanography 38, 657–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gasparini, G. P. and Griffa, A. L.: 1986, “Studio delle condizioni dinamiche del Gofo di Taranto”. In Indagine ambientale del sistema marino costiero della Regione Puglia, (eds.) Viel, M. and Zurlini, G. pp. 101–125. ENEA, Roma.Google Scholar
  23. Gonzalez, J. M. and Suttle, C. A.: 1993, “Grazing by marine nanoflagellates on viruses and virus-sized particles: ingestion and digestion”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 94, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hagström, A., Pinhassi, J. and Zweifel, U. L.: 2000, “Biogeographical diversity among marine bacterioplankton”, Aquatic Microbial Ecology 21, 23–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holt, J. G., Kreig, N. R., Sneath, P. H. A., Staley, J. T. and Williams, S. T.: 1994, Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology 9th edn. Williams and Wilkins: Baltimore.Google Scholar
  26. Jacobsen, A., Egge, J. K. and Heimdal, B. R.: 1994, “Effects of increased concentration of nitrate and phosphate during a springbloom experiment in mesocosm', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 187(2), 239–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. JAMP.: 1998, JAMP (Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme), 1998 ‘JAMP guidelines for general biological effects monitoring”, Oslo and Paris Commissions, p. 15.Google Scholar
  28. Jürgens, K. and Güde, H.: 1990, “Incorporation and release of phosphorus in planktonic bacteria and phagotrophic flagellates”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 59, 271–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jürgens, K. and Güde, H.: 1994, “The potential importance of grazing-resistant bacteria in planktonic systems”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 112, 169–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kirchman, D. L.: 1994, “The uptake of inorganic nutrients by heterotrophic bacteria”, Microbial Ecology 28, 255–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kirchman, D. L., Keil, R. G., Simon, M. and Welschmeyer, N. A.: 1993, “Biomass and production of heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the oceanic subarctic Pacific”, Deep Sea Research 40, 967–988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kirchman, D. L., Ducklow, H. W., McCarthy, J. J. and Garzide, C.: 1994, “Biomass and nitrogen uptake by heterotrophic bacteria during the spring phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic Ocean”, Deep Sea Research 41, 879–895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kroger, S., Piletsky, S. and Turner, A. P. F.: 2002, “Biosensors for marine pollution research, monitoring and control”, Marine Pollution Bulletin 45 (1–12), 24–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lam, P. K. S. and Gray, J. S.: 2003, “The use of biomarkers in environmental monitoring programmes”, Marine Pollution Bulletin 46 (2), 182–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lancelot, C.: 1979, “Gross excretion rates of natural marine phytoplankton and heterotrophic uptake of excreted products in the southern North Sea as determined by short-term kinetics”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 1, 179–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. La Rosa, T., Mirto, S., Favaloro, E., Savona, B., Sara”, G., Danovaro, R. and Mazzola, A.: 2001, “Impact on the water column biogeochemistry of a Mediterranean mussel and fish farm”, Water Research 0, 1–9.Google Scholar
  37. Lochte, K., Ducklow, H. W., Fasham, M. J. R. and Stienen, C.: 1993, “Plankton succession and carbon cycling at 47circ N 20circ W during the jgops North Atlantic Bloom experiment”, Deep Sea Research 40, 91–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Margalef, R.: 1995, “Turbulence and marine life”, Scientia Marina 61 (1), 109–123.Google Scholar
  39. Pace, M. L. and Cole, J. J.: 1994, “Comparative and experimental approaches to top-down and bottom-up regulation by bacteria”, Microbial Ecology 28, 181–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mousseau, L., Legendre, L. and Fontier, L.: 1996, “Dynamics of size-fractioned phytoplankton and trophic pathways on the Scotian Shelf and at the shelf break, northwest Atlantic”, Aquatic Microbial Ecology 10, 149–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pace, M. L. and Funke, E.: 1991, “Regulation of planktonic microbial communities by nutrients and herbivors”, Ecology 72, 904–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Parsons, T. R., Maita, Y. and Lalli, C. M.: 1984, A Manual of Chemical and Biological Methods for Seawater Analysis. Pergamon Press: Oxford, England.Google Scholar
  43. Pinhassi, J., Azam, F., Hemphälä, J., Long, R. A., Martinez, J., Zweifel, U. L. and Hagström, AA.: 1999, “Coupling between bacterioplankton species composition, population dynamics, and organic matter degradation”, Aquatic Microbial Ecology 17, 13–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pomeroy, L. R.: 1980, “Microbial roles in aquatic foodwebs”, In Aquatic Microbial Ecology, (eds). R. R. Colwelland and J. Foster, pp. 85–109. Maryland Sea Grant University, College Park.Google Scholar
  45. Pomeroy, L. R. and Wiebe, W. J.: 2001, “Temperature and substrates as interactive limiting factors for marine heterotrophic bacteria”, Aquatic Microbial Ecology 23, 187–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pomeroy, L. R., Wiebe, W. J., Deibel, D., Thompson, R. J., Rowe, G. T. and Pakulski, J. D.: 1991, “Bacterial responses to temperature and substrate concentration during the Newfoundland spring bloom”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 75, 143–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Poremba, K. and Hoppe, H. G.: 1995, “Spatial variation of benthic microbial production and hydrolytic enzymatic activity down the continental slope of the Celtic Sea”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 118, 237–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Porter, K. G., Sherr, E. B., Sherr, B. F., Pace, M. L. and Sanders, R. W.: 1985, “Protozoa in planktonic food webs”, Journal of Protozoology 32, 409–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rabitti, S., Bianchi, F., Boldrin, A., Da, Ros. L., Socal, G. and Totti, C.: 1994, “Particulate matter and phytoplankton in the Ionian Sea”, Oceanologica Acta 17, 297–307.Google Scholar
  50. Revelante, N. and Gilmartin, M.: 1976, “Temporal succession of phytoplankton in the Northern Adriatic”, Neth. Journal Sea Research 10, 377–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Riemann, B. and Sondergaard, G. A.: 1986, “Regulation of bacterial secondary production in two eutrophic lakes and in experimental enclosures”, Journal of Plankton Research 8, 519–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rogers, S. I. and Greenaway, B.: 2005, “A UK perspective on the development of marine ecosystem indicators”, Marine Pollution Bulletin 50 (1), 9–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Russo, A. and Artegiani, A.: 1996, “Adriatic Sea hydrography”, Scientia Marina 60 (2), 33–43.Google Scholar
  54. Sanders, R. W., Caron, D. A. and Berninger, U. G.: 1992, “Relationships between bacteria and heterotrophic nanoplankton in marine and fresh waters: an interecosystem comparison”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 86, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schlüter, L.: 1998, “The influence of nutrient addition on growth rates of phytoplankton groups, and microzooplankton grazing rates in a mesocosm experiment”, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 228 (1), 53–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Socal, G., Boldrin, A., Bianchi, F., Civitarese, G., De, Lazzari. A., Rabitti, S., Totti, C. and Turchetto, M.: 1999, “Nutrient, particulate matter and phytoplankton variability in the photic layer of the Otranto Strait”, Journal of Marine Systems 20, 381–398.Google Scholar
  57. Stabili, L. and Cavallo, R. Asc .: 2004, “Heterotrophic bacterial biodiversity in the Southern Adriatic Sea (Italian coasts)”, Scientia Marina 68(1), 31–41.Google Scholar
  58. Strickland, Y. D. H. and Parsons, T. R.: 1972, “A practical handbook of seawater analysis”, Bulletin of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 167, 1–311.Google Scholar
  59. Suttle, C. A., Fuhrman, J. A. and Capone, D. G.: 1990, “Rapid ammonium cycling and concentration dependent partitioning of ammonium and phosphate: Implication for carbon transfer in planktonic communities”, Limnology and Oceanography 35, 424–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Suttle, C. A., Chan, A. M. and Fuhrman, J. A.: 1991, “Dissolved free amino acids in the Sargasso Sea: uptake and respiration rates, turnover times, and concentrations”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 70, 189–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Suttle, C. A., Stockner, J. G., Shortreed, K. S. and Harrison, P. J.: 1988, “Time-courses of size-fractionated phosphate uptake: Are larger cells better competitors for pulses of phosphate then smaller cells?”, Oecologia 74, 571–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Thingstad, T. F., Skjolldal, E. F. and Bohne, R. A.: 1993, “Phosphorus cycling and algal-bacterial competition in Sandsfjord Western Norway”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 99, 239–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Thingstad, T. F. and Rassoulzadegan, F.: 1995, Nutrient limitations, microbial food webs, and “biological C-pump”: Suggested interactions in a P-limited Mediterranean”, Marine Ecology Progress Series 117, 299–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Totti, C., Civitarese, G., Acri, F., Barletta, D., Candelari, G., Paschini, E. and Solazzi, A.: 2000, “Seasonal varibility of phytoplakton populations in the middle Adriatic sub-basin”, Journal of Plankton Research 22 (9), 1735–1756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Underwood, A. J.: 1997, “Experiments in ecology: their logical design and interpretation using analysis of variance”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 504 pp.Google Scholar
  66. Vilicic, D., Leder, N., Grzetic, Z. and Jasprica, N.: 1995, “Microphytoplankton in the strait of Otranto (eastern Mediterranean)”, Marine Biology 123, 619–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Von Westernhagen, H., Dethlefsen, V. and Haarich, M.: 2001, “Can a pollution event be detected using a single biological effects monitoring method?,” Marine Pollution Bulletin 42 (4), 294–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Warwick, R. M.: 1993, “Environmental impact studies on marine communities: Pragmatical considerations”, Australian Journal of Ecology 18, 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wheeler, P. A. and Kirchman, D. L.: 1986, “Utilization of inorganic and organic nitrogen by bacteria in marine systems”, Limnology and Oceanography 31, 998–1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Williams, P. J. and Le, B.: 1981, “Incorporation of microheterotrophic processes into the classical paradigm of the planktonic food web”, Kieler Meeresforsch 5, 1–28.Google Scholar
  71. Zaccone, R., Caruso, G. and Cali, C.: 2002, “Heterotrophic bacteria in the Northern Adriatic Sea: Seasonal Changes and ectoenzyme profile”, Marine Environmental Research 54, 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zingone, A., Honsell, G., Marino, D., Montresor, M. and Socal, G.: 1990, “Fitoplancton”, Nova Thalassia 11, 183–198.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loredana Stabili
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Carmela Caroppo
    • 1
  • Rosa Anna Cavallo
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto per l’Ambiente Marino CostieroSezione di Taranto, CNRTarantoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed AmbientaliLecceItaly

Personalised recommendations