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Distribution of bacterial biomass and activity in the marginal ice zone of the central Barents Sea during summer
Howard-Jones, M.H.; Ballard, V.D.; Allen, A.E.; Frischer, M.E.; Verity, P.G. (2002). Distribution of bacterial biomass and activity in the marginal ice zone of the central Barents Sea during summer. J. Mar. Syst. 38(1-2): 77-91.
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Abundance; Activity patterns; Bacteria; Biomass; Distribution; Ice cover; Leucine; Marginal seas; Viruses; PNE, Barents Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Howard-Jones, M.H.
  • Ballard, V.D.
  • Allen, A.E.
  • Frischer, M.E.
  • Verity, P.G.

    The purpose of this study was to determine bacterioplankton abundance and activity in the Barents Sea using the novel modified vital stain and probe (mVSP) method. The mVSP is a protocol that combines DAPI and propidium iodide staining with 16S rRNA eubacterial-specific oligonucleotide probes to determine the physiological status of individual microbial cells. Bacterial abundance and metabolic activity were measured in near-surface waters and with depth at stations in the central Barents Sea during a cruise in June/July 1999. Viral abundance was also determined for 19 transect stations and at depth (2-200 m) for five intensive 24-h stations. In general, bacterial and viral abundances varied across the transect, but showed peaks of abundance (6×109 cells l−1, 9×109 viruses l−1) in Polar Front water masses. Viruses were abundant in seawater and exceeded bacterial abundance. Metabolic activity was determined for individual cells using 16S rRNA eubacterial-specific oligonucleotide probes, and for the total community with 3H-leucine incorporation. Activity measured by oligonucleotide probes increased from south to north. The fraction of cells that were active was lowest in the southern Barents Sea (20%) and highest in the Polar Front (53%). The proportion of cells at the 24-h stations that were determined to be active decreased with depth, but not with distance from ice cover. Leucine incorporation rates varied significantly and did not always correlate with probe measurements. The proportion of total cells that had compromised membranes and were therefore considered dead remained relatively constant (<10%) across the transect. The percent of dead cells in the near surface waters and at depth were statistically similar. The percent dead cells made up only a small fraction of the total population at the 24-h stations. The largest and most variable fraction of cells were those classified as low activity (25-80%), which supports the hypothesis that a significant fraction of cells in aquatic ecosystems are inactive. Bacterioplankton production rates ranged from <0.05 to 2.8 mg C m−3 day−1. Growth rates ranged from <0.05 to 0.25 day−1, implying turnover rates of 2.5 to >200 days. Our results demonstrate that bacterioplankton and viruses are dynamic but ubiquitous features of Arctic microbial communities. The contribution of bacteria and viruses to Arctic food webs is discussed.

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