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Limnol Oceanogr. 1997 Jan;42(1):133-41.

Whiting events: biogenic origin due to the photosynthetic activity of cyanobacterial picoplankton.

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Department of Marine Science, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida 33711, USA.


An annual whiting event occurs each year in late May to early June in Fayetteville Green Lake, New York. The initiation of this event correlates with exponential growth of the Synechococcus population within the lake. Synechococcus is the dominant (by approximately 4 orders of magnitude) autotrophic organism owing to the oligotrophic condition of the lake. The delta 13C values of the dissolved inorganic C range seasonally from -9.5% in winter to -6.2% in summer due to photosynthetic activity. Calcite precipitates principally in the microenvironment surrounding Synechococcus because of a photosynthetically driven alkalization process and the availability of the cells as nucleation sites. This calcite has a heavier delta 13C value (>4%) than does the dissolved inorganic C of the lake water owing to the cells' preferential uptake of 12C. A conceptual model suggests that photosynthetic activity and cell surface chemistry, together with the substantial surface area that arises from the great abundance of micron-sized cells, allow Synechococcus to dominate the annual whiting events in Fayetteville Green Lake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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