Influence of the hydrological cycle on the bacterioplankton of an impacted clear water amazonian lake

Anésio, Alexandre Magno Barbosa; Abreu, Paulo Cesar Oliveira Vergne de; Esteves, Francisco de Assis


Free-living and attached bacterial population sizes were determined fortnightly from December 1991 to December 1992 in natural and disturbed areas of an Amazonian clear water lake (Batata Lake, Para´, Brazil) impacted by bauxite tailings. The bacterioplankton showed distinct patterns during different phases of the hydrological cycle. Total bacterial population size and rates of thymidine incorporation (measured during high and low water phases) were high during low water, with values ranging from 3.3 3 105 to 1.1 3 106 cells ml21, and from 0.28 to 4.01 mg C l21 h21, respectively. The population size of free-living bacteria was larger at the natural station, while no differences were observed between attached bacterial populations at both stations. However, production and turnover rate of attached bacteria were high at the disturbed area. During low water, bacterial growth appeared to be driven mainly by the input of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from phytoplankton origin. During high water, bacterial abundance was reduced, probably as the result of dilution and the input of less labile DOC from floodplains. The presence of bauxite tailings seems to influence bacterial dynamics in an indirect way, probably due to shading of phytoplankton cells and, hence, reducing the DOC supply for bacterial growth. This study, the first on the microbial ecology of an Amazonian clear water lake, demonstrated that water level variations exert a strong influence on the bacterioplankton dynamics.

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