Competition between benthic cyanobacteria and diatoms as influenced by different grain sizes and temperatures

Watermann, F., Hillebrand, Helmut, Gerdes, G., Krumbein, W. E. and Sommer, Ulrich (1999) Competition between benthic cyanobacteria and diatoms as influenced by different grain sizes and temperatures Marine Ecology Progress Series, 187 . pp. 77-87. DOI 10.3354/meps187077.

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An experimental laboratory set-up was used to study the influence of different grain size compositions and temperatures on the growth of benthic cyanobacteria and diatoms, and on the competition between these 2 groups. Monospecific cultures of 3 species of cyanobacteria (Merismopedia punctata, Microcoleus chthonoplastes, Oscillatoria limosa), and of 2 species of benthic diatoms (Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Nitzschia sp.) were used. The organisms were cultured in 100 ml flasks filled with medium and 3 different kinds of sediment: (1) Sand (fine sand, 63 to 200 µm), (2) Mud-I (mixed fine sand and mud <63 µm in the ratio 80:20 wt %), (3) Mud-II (mixed fine sand and mud in the ratio 50:50 wt %). Experimental temperatures were 10, 15 and 25°C. At 10°C and 15°C, both diatom species achieved the highest biomass on the sediments of the finest grain size (50 wt % < 63 µm) while cyanobacteria achieved low biomass levels. Coarsening of sediments at the same temperature levels revealed a gradually lower biomass of the diatoms. Particularly on sand, the diatoms never reached the same concentrations of chlorophyll a as on mud. The cyanobacteria, on the other hand, had the highest biomass on sand at 15°C. In the competition experiments the benthic diatom species Nitzschia sp. dominated all types of sediments at 10°C and 15°C. The experiments at 25°C were dominated by the filamentous cyanobacterium M. chthonoplastes. This indicates the importance of abiotic conditions for the distribution and abundance of benthic phototrophic micro-organisms.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Food Webs; Competition · Cyanobacteria · Diatoms · Temperature · Sand · Mud
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps187077
ISSN: 0171-8630
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2012 07:49
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 15:00

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