Send to

Choose Destination
Microb Ecol. 2002 Jan;43(1):119-33. Epub 2002 Jan 23.

Longitudinal and vertical trends of bacterial limitation by phosphorus and carbon in the Mediterranean Sea.

Author information

Laboratoire de Microbiologie Marine, CNRS-INSU, UMR 6117, Centre d'Oceanologie de Marseille, Universite de la Mediterranee, Campus de Luminy, Case 907, 13 288 Marseille Cedex 9, France.


The effect of phosphate (P), nitrate (N), and organic carbon (C, glucose) enrichment on heterotrophic bacterial production was examined along two longitudinal transects covering the whole Mediterranean Sea during June and September 1999. During these cruises, integrated bacterial production ranged from 11 to 349 mgC m(-2) d(-1) for the 0-150 m layer. P was found to stimulate bacterial production (BP) in 13 out of 18 experiments, in the eastern and in the western Mediterranean Sea. Organic carbon stimulation of bacterial production was observed at two stations in the Alboran Sea, where the highest bacterial production was recorded (216 and 349 mg C m(-2) d(-1)) and in the Sicily Strait. Maximum rates of alkaline phosphatase (AP) increased from the Alboran to the Levantine Sea whereas AP turnover time decreased. Moreover, alkaline phosphatase activity was not systematically reduced following additions of P. In cases of P limitation, however, the alkaline phosphatase activity to bacterial production ratio was severely reduced in the P and NPC enrichments. Generally, the addition of the limiting factor--whether P or C--had a synchronous stimulating effect on bacterial production and ectoaminopeptidase activity and induced a decline in the amino acid respiration percentage. At two selected stations in the eastern and northwestern Mediterranean, response to enrichment was tested on vertical profiles. Bacteria shifted from P to C limitation at a depth where soluble reactive phosphorus was still undetectable, but corresponding to a strong increase in alkaline phosphatase turnover time. Our results showed that values of AP turnover time lower than 100 h corresponded to situations of P limitation of bacterial production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center