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Bacterioplankton Cell Growth and Macromolecular Synthesis in Seawater Cultures during the North Atlantic Spring Phytoplankton Bloom, May, 1989

H. W. Ducklow, D. L. Kirchman and H. L. Quinby
Microbial Ecology
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Sep. - Oct., 1992), pp. 125-144
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4251260
Page Count: 20
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Bacterioplankton Cell Growth and Macromolecular Synthesis in Seawater Cultures during the North Atlantic Spring Phytoplankton Bloom, May, 1989
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Abstract

We performed a series of seawater culture experiments on surface mixed layer samples during the spring phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic Ocean. Diluted (20% unfiltered + 80% 0.22 μm filtered) and untreated "whole" seawater samples were incubated up to 40 hour and sampled periodically for cell numbers, biovolume, and incorporation of 3 H-thymidine and -leucine. Abundance and biovolume increased exponentially at similar rates in diluted and whole samples, suggesting that removal by bacteriovores was low compared with growth. The exponential increase in biovolume was due to increases in cell numbers and mean cell volume. Generation times (i.e., 0.693/μ) averaged 36-53 hour in these surface (10 m) samples. Ninety percent of the tritiated thymidine incorporation (TTI) into cold trichloroacetic acid-insoluble cell fractions was recovered after extraction with NaOH and phenolchloroform, indicating that catabolism of thymidine and its appearance in RNA or protein was very low. The percentage of thymidine recovered in DNA did not change over the 40 hour of incubation and was the same as in water column samples. Rates of thymidine and leucine incorporation also increased exponentially. Incorporation rates tended to increase more rapidly than cell numbers or biovolume, though the differences were not significantly different, due to the small number of samples and variability over the time courses. Differential rates of increase in cellular properties during growth might indicate a lack of coupling between incorporation and production over time scales of hours-days. This in turn may reflect unbalanced growth of bacterial assemblages, which is an adaptation to variable conditions in the upper ocean in this season. Nonequality of rate constants for cells and incorporation yields conversion factors that are either higher or lower than would be calculated from balanced growth (i.e., rates of increase in numbers and incorporation rates equal), depending on the calculation approach chosen. An alternative approach to calculating conversion factors (the modified derivative approach) is proposed, which is insensitive to differential rates of increase of abundance and incorporation.

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