Response of marine bacterioplankton to differential filtration and confinement.

  • Ferguson R
  • Buckley E
  • Palumbo A
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The bacterioplankton community of confined seawater at 25°C changed significantly within 16 h of collection. Confinement increased CFU, total cell number (by epifluorescence microscopy), and average cell volume of bacterioplankton and increased the turnover rate of amino acids in seawater sampled at Frying Pan Shoals, N.C. The bacterioplankton community was characterized by two components: differential doubling times during confinement shifted dominance from bacteria which were nonculturable to bacteria which were culturable on a complex nutrient medium. Culturable cells (especially those of the genera Pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, and Acinetobacter) increased from 0.08% of the total cell number in the seawater immediately after collection to 13% at 16 h and 41% at 32 h of confinement. Differential filtration before confinement indicated that particles passing through a 3.0-,um-, but retained by a 0.2-,m-, pore-size Nuclepore filter may be a major source of primary amines to the confined population. The 3.0-,um filtration increased growth rate and ultimate numbers of culturable cells through the removal of bacterial predators or the release of primary amines from cells damaged during filtration or both. Many of the advances in our understanding of the dynam-ics of marine planktonic communities have resulted from the use of bottles to confine samples of water. Confinement terminates exchange of cells, nutrients, and metabolites with surrounding water and facilitates experimental manipula-tion, but results can be biased by what has long been referred to as the bottle effect. The purpose of this study was to determine the nature and to quantify the extent of the response to confinement of natural communities of neritic marine bacterioplankton. We monitored changes in metabolic activity, total cell numbers, and the abundance of culturable species. We also deter-mined the impact of partial removal from the water of particles .3.0 ,um and .0.2 ,m. The data demonstrated that

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  • R. L. Ferguson

  • E. N. Buckley

  • A. V. Palumbo

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