Coupling of heterotrophic bacteria to phytoplankton bloom development at different pCO(2) levels: a mesocosm study

  • Grossart H
  • Allgaier M
  • Riebesell U
  • et al.
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The predicted rise in anthropogenic CO2 emissions will increase CO2 concentrations and decrease seawater pH in the upper ocean. Recent studies have revealed effects of pCO(2) induced changes in seawater chemistry on a variety of marine life forms, in particular calcifying organisms. To test whether the predicted increase in pCO(2) will directly or indirectly (via changes in phytoplankton dynamics) affect abundance, activities, and community composition of heterotrophic bacteria during phytoplankton bloom development, we have aerated mesocosms with CO2 to obtain triplicates with three different partial pressures of CO2 (pCO(2)): 350 mu atm (1 x CO2), 700 mu atm (2 x CO2) and 1050 mu atm (3 x CO2). The development of a phytoplankton bloom was initiated by the addition of nitrate and phosphate. In accordance to an elevated carbon to nitrogen drawdown at increasing pCO(2), bacterial production (BPP) of free-living and attached bacteria as well as cellspecific BPP (csBPP) of attached bacteria were related to the C:N ratio of suspended matter. These relationships significantly differed among treatments. However, bacterial abundance and activities were not statistically different among treatments. Solely community structure of free-living bacteria changed with pCO(2) whereas that of attached bacteria seemed to be independent of pCO(2) but tightly coupled to phytoplankton bloom development. Our findings imply that changes in pCO(2), although reflected by changes in community structure of free-living bacteria, do not directly affect bacterial activity. Furthermore, bacterial activity and dynamics of heterotrophic bacteria, especially of attached bacteria, were tightly correlated to phytoplankton development and, hence, may also potentially depend on changes in pCO(2).




Grossart, H. P., Allgaier, M., Riebesell, U., Vogt, M., & Thyrhaug, R. (2008). Coupling of heterotrophic bacteria to phytoplankton bloom development at different pCO(2) levels: a mesocosm study. Biogeosciences, 5(4), 1007–1022. Retrieved from <Go to ISI>://000259986400003

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