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Nutrient limitation masks the dissolved organic matter composition effects on bacterial metabolism in unproductive freshwaters
Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; School of Geographic Sciences, Nantong University, Nantong, China.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5758-2705
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5102-4289
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2023 (English)In: Limnology and Oceanography, ISSN 0024-3590, E-ISSN 1939-5590, Vol. 68, no 9, p. 2059-2069Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aquatic microbial responses to changes in the amount and composition of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) are of fundamental ecological and biogeochemical importance. Parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis of excitation–emission fluorescence spectra is a common tool to characterize DOC, yet its ability to predict bacterial production (BP), bacterial respiration (BR), and bacterial growth efficiency (BGE) vary widely, potentially because inorganic nutrient limitation decouples microbial processes from their dependence on DOC composition. We used 28-d bioassays with water from 19 lakes, streams, and rivers in northern Sweden to test how much the links between bacterial metabolism and fluorescence PARAFAC components depend on experimental additions of inorganic nutrients. We found a significant interaction effect between nutrient addition and fluorescence on carbon-specific BP, and weak evidence for influence on BGE by the same interaction (p = 0.1), but no corresponding interaction effect on BR. A practical implication of this interaction was that fluorescence components could explain more than twice as much of the variability in carbon-specific BP (R2 = 0.90) and BGE (R2 = 0.70) after nitrogen and phosphorus addition, compared with control incubations. Our results suggest that an increased supply of labile DOC relative to ambient phosphorus and nitrogen induces gradually larger degrees of nutrient limitation of BP, which in turn decouple BP and BGE from fluorescence signals. Thus, while fluorescence does contain precise information about the degree to which DOC can support microbial processes, this information may be hidden in field studies due to nutrient limitation of bacterial metabolism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2023. Vol. 68, no 9, p. 2059-2069
National Category
Physical Geography
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-212480DOI: 10.1002/lno.12406ISI: 001031950300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85165443438OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-212480DiVA, id: diva2:1785629
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Swedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2023-08-03 Created: 2023-08-03 Last updated: 2024-01-05Bibliographically approved

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Sponseller, Ryan A.Bergström, Ann-KristinKarlsson, JanVerheijen, Hendricus

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