Diel and Seasonal Variation in Growth Rates of Pelagic Bacteria

  • Åke Hagström
  • Ulf Larsson
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 15)


With the recognition of bacteria as a trophic element in the aquatic food web, comparable to the algae and not just mediators of degradative processes, growth rates of natural bacteria have become essential information (Pomeroy 1974; Williams 1981). During the last few years several methods to measure growth of bacteria have been developed (Christian et al. 1982; Fuhrman and Azam 1982; Hagström et al. 1979; Moriarty and Pollard 1981; Sieburth et al. 1977), but their advantages and disadvantages are still being discussed. For details see chapter by Azam (this volume). The resulting data on bacterial growth have come from a wide variety of geographic locations and techniques, hence generalizations about the variability of bacterial growth rate in the pelagic ecosystem are still not possible (Azam, this volume; Williams 1981). Circumstantial evidence such as diel variations of bacterial cell volumes and of frequency of dividing cells (Krambeck et al. 1981), however, indicate short term variability. Diel patterns in bacterial heterotrophic activity in the pelagic ecosystem, recorded using tracer techniques (Ammerman and Azam 1981; Spencer 1979), also seem to agree well with the variations in amounts of various dissolved substances seen by direct analyses (Burney et al. 1981; Mopper and Lindroth 1982). As suggested by many workers, e.g., Wiebe and Smith (1977) and Larsson and Hagström (1979, 1982), one of the major sources of organic carbon to bacterial growth could be phytoplankton extracellular release of exudates.


Bacterial Biomass Spring Bloom Pelagic Ecosystem Bacterial Growth Rate Diel Variation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Åke Hagström
    • 1
  • Ulf Larsson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Askö Laboratory, Institute of Marine EcologyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden

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