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Relationship between Bacterioplankton Richness, Respiration, and Production in the Southern North Sea
- Reinthaler, Thomas, Winter, Christian, Herndl, Gerhard J.
- Applied and environmental microbiology 2005 v.71 no.5 pp. 2260-2266
- bacterial communities, bacterioplankton, community structure, dissolved organic carbon, restriction fragment length polymorphism, North Sea
- We investigated the relationship between bacterioplankton production (BP), respiration (BR), and community composition measured by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism in the southern North Sea over a seasonal cycle. Major changes in bacterioplankton richness were apparent from April to December. While cell-specific BP decreased highly significantly with increasing bacterioplankton richness, cell-specific BR was found to be variable along the richness gradient, suggesting that bacterioplankton respiration is rather independent from shifts in the bacterial community composition. As a consequence, the bacterial growth efficiency [BGE = BP/(BP + BR)] was negatively related to bacterioplankton richness, explaining [approximately]43% of the variation in BGE. Our results indicate that despite the observed shifts in the community composition, the main function of the bacterioplankton, the remineralization of dissolved organic carbon to CO₂, is rather stable.