Microbial plankton assemblages, composition and biomass, during two ice-free periods in a deep high mountain lake (Estany Redó, Pyrenees)
AbstractMicrobial plankton composition and biomass were monitored for two ice-free periods in a deep oligotrophic high-mountain lake (Redó, Pyrenees). Phytoplankton dominated microbial biomass, while the relationship between total water-column-integrated autotrophic and heterotrophic biomass ranged from 1.5 to 6.5 (an average of 4.4). Heterotrophic biomass was dominated by bacteria (an average of 47 %), but heterotrophic nanoflagellates and, to a lesser degree, ciliates occasionally constituted a sizeable proportion. In general, the microbial biomass ratios were 10:2:2:1 for PHY:BAC:HNF:CIL. About one hundred eukaryotic species were found, although most of them in low abundance and frequency. Phytoplankton biomass was dominated by flagellated chrysophytes and dinoflagellates (an average of 40 and 32% respectively); occasionally cryptophytes (in deep layers) and chlorococcal chlorophytes (during the autumn mixing period) were also significant. In the two years sampled, the maximum phytoplankton diversity was observed during the autumn mixing period. Heterotrophic flagellate biomass was dominated by chrysophytes (78% on average), but sporadically a non-identified species reached high abundances. Oligotrichs, (an average of 43% of total ciliate biomass) dominated the ciliate community, still other groups (gymnostomatida and prostomatida) were also significant. Bacteria biomass was largely homogeneous throughout the two periods, but size segregation was observed especially when the lake was stratified, with larger bacteria appearing in the upper layers. The highest planktonic microbial biomass occurred during the mixing periods, mainly during spring. But no clear relationships were found between the temporal distribution of bacteria, phytoplankton, heterotrophic flagellate and ciliate biomass.
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