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Occurrence of mixotrophic flagellates in relation to bacterioplankton production, light regime and availability of inorganic nutrients in unproductive lakes with differing humic contents
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2003 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 48, no 5, 868-877 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. Field data from five unproductive Swedish lakes were used to investigate the occurrence of mixotrophic flagellates in relation to bacterioplankton, autotrophic phytoplankton, heterotrophic flagellates and abiotic environmental factors. Three different sources of data were used: (i) a 3-year study (1995-97) of the humic Lake Örträsket, (ii) seasonal measurements from five lakes with widely varying dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations, and (iii) whole lake enrichment experiments with inorganic nutrients and organic carbon. 2. Mixotrophic flagellates usually dominated over autotrophic phytoplankton in Lake Örträsket in early summer, when both bacterial production and light levels were high. Comparative data from the five lakes demonstrated that the ratio between the biomasses of mixotrophic flagellates and autotrophic phytoplankton (the M/A-ratio) was positively correlated to bacterioplankton production, but not to the light regime. Whole lake carbon addition (white sugar) increased bacterial biomass, and production, reduced the biomass of autotrophs by a factor of 16, and increased the M/A-ratio from 0.03 to 3.4. Collectively, the results indicate that the dominance of mixotrophs among phytoplankton was positively related to bacterioplankton production. 3. Whole lake fertilisation with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) demonstrated that the obligate autotrophic phytoplankton was limited by N. N-addition increased the biomass of the autotrophic phytoplankton but had no effect on mixotrophic flagellates or bacteria, and the M/A-ratio decreased from 1.2 to 0.6 after N-enrichment. Therefore, we suggest that bacteria under natural conditions, by utilising allochthonous DOC as an energy and carbon source, are able to outcompete autotrophs for available inorganic nutrients. Consequently, mixotrophic flagellates can become the dominant phytoplankters when phagotrophy permits them to use nutrients stored in bacterial biomass. 4. In Lake Ortrasket, the biomass of mixotrophs was usually higher than the biomass of heterotrophs during the summer. This dominance could not be explained by higher grazing rates among the mixotrophs. Instead, ratios between mixotrophic and heterotrophic biomass (the M/H-ratio) were positively related to light availability. Therefore, we suggest that photosynthesis can enable mixotrophic flagellates to outcompete heterotrophic flagellates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 48, no 5, 868-877 p.
Keyword [en]
bacteria, flagellates, light, mixotrophic, nutrients
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-37606DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2427.2003.01061.xISI: 000182183600010OAI: diva2:369391
Available from: 2010-11-10 Created: 2010-11-10 Last updated: 2010-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Bergström, Ann-KristinJansson, Mats
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