Is phosphorus limitation of planktonic heterotrophic bacteria and accumulation of degradable DOC a normal phenomenon in phosphorus-limited systems? A microcosm study

Olav Vadstein*, Lasse M. Olsen, Arild Busch, Tom Andersen, Helge R. Reinertsen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    33 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A dual isotope labelling technique was used to follow the distribution of carbon and phosphorus in plankton microcosms containing autotrophs (Tetraselmis sp.), heterotrophic bacteria and herbivores (Brachionus plicatilis) at eight different total-P concentrations. P:C ratios of algae, bacteria and dissolved matter, as well as the general accumulation of degradable dissolved organic carbon, indicated that both the autotrophs and heterotrophic bacteria were P-limited in all microcosms. According to the theory, such coexistence should only be possible if bacteria have higher predation losses than algae, which was definitely not the case in our experiment. However, data are consistent with the assumption that bacteria are superior in P uptake but have a poor ability to retain acquired P, which would promote coexistence in a patchy P-supply environment resulting from nutrient regeneration by metazoan grazers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)307-316
    Number of pages10
    JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
    Volume46
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2003

    Keywords

    • Alga
    • Coexistence
    • Dissolved organic carbon
    • Heterotrophic bacteria
    • Patchiness
    • Resource competition

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