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Journal Article

Growth and production of heterotrophic nanoflagellates in a meso-eutrophic lake


Weisse,  Thomas
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Weisse, T. (1997). Growth and production of heterotrophic nanoflagellates in a meso-eutrophic lake. Journal of Plankton Research, 19(6), 703-722.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-E240-E
The growth of heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF) in mesotrophic Lake Constance was measured in situ during a 13 month period. Experiments were conducted with 10 mu m pre-filtered lake water incubated in diffusion chambers at 3 m water depth at the sampling location for 24 h. Growth rates were calculated from changes in cell numbers occurring during the period of incubation. Growth rates of all dominant taxa showed pronounced seasonal variation (-0.13 to 1.76 day(-1)) and were generally highest in summer at high water temperatures. In situ growth rates were well below maximum growth rates known for the respective and similar species from laboratory experiments. While water temperature was a key parameter positively related to the growth of all HNF species, the effect of various potential food items was taxon specific and less clear. Bacterial abundance was equally important as temperature for growth in the small bacterivorous Spumella sp., but was insignificant for growth rates of the larger omnivorous Kathablepharis sp. In Spumella sp., 84% of the observed seasonal variation of its growth rate could be explained by temperature and bacterial food supply. Based on these results, a multiple linear regression equation with temperature and bacterial concentration as dependent variables was calculated for the growth rate of Spumella. Taxon-specific production rates were derived from growth rates and average biomass of these two species, and compared to total HNF production estimated from previously measured community growth rates and biomass in Lake Constance. Production peaks of Spumella sp. and Kathablepharis sp. alternated seasonally. Total HNF production ranged from -0.01 to 10 mg C m(-3) day(-1). The average seasonal production varied between 1.4 and 3.5 mg C m(-3) day(-1) over 6 consecutive years. These small protozoa thus contribute a substantial amount to total zooplankton production in Lake Constance