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Bacterial activity and production in near-surface estuarine and freshwater sediments

Wellsbury, Peter, Herbert, Rodney A. and Parkes, Ronald John 1996. Bacterial activity and production in near-surface estuarine and freshwater sediments. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 19 (3) , pp. 203-214. 10.1111/j.1574-6941.1996.tb00213.x

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Two indices of bacterial production, thymidine incorporation and the frequency of divided and dividing cells were measured, along with a suite of measurements of aerobic and anaerobic bacterial activity, to investigate the relationship between bacterial cell production and organic carbon mineralisation at three different sediment sites: a sheltered intertidal estuarine mudflat (Kingoodie Bay), a riverside mudbank (Ashleworth Quay) and an intertidal mudflat in a hydraulically dynamic estuary (Aust Warth). Organic carbon mineralisation was dominated by anaerobic processes at all three sites: sulfate reduction at the two estuarine sites (equivalent to 76% and 61% of oxygen uptake) and methanogenesis at the freshwater site (56%). Although all three sites had similar bacterial population sizes, activities in Kingoodie Bay were 2–3 times higher than at Aust Warth or Ashleworth Quay. Thymidine incorporation rates and Numbers of Dividing and Divided Cells correlated strongly at all three sites. Thymidine incorporation rates were spatially uncoupled from zones of principal anaerobic activity, providing in situ evidence that sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogens do not incorporate radiolabelled thymidine into DNA during growth. Cell yield was lower in the anaerobic zone, as subsurface peaks in anaerobic mineralisation were not matched by increases in bacterial productivity. However, as anaerobic degradation processes were so dominant, anaerobic productivity still accounted for the majority of cell production.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bacterial production; Organic carbon mineralisation; Thymidine incorporation; Sulfate reduction; Methanogenesis; Aquatic sediment
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0168-6496
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:07

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