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Free Content Significance of Bacterial Biomass and Production as an Organic Carbon Source in Lotic Detrital Systems

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While there has been considerable discussion of the significance of bacteria as an organic carbon source for secondary consumers in detritus-based ecosystems, there are few measurements of bacterial production available to test hypotheses. The advent of the use of tritiated thymidine has made possible measurement of bacterial production. Using these methods, we have found bacterial production in sediments and on particulate detritus of two lotic ecosystems to range from 0.01–10.0 mg C m–2 d–1. These rates are only a small proportion of carbon entering these systems, implying that in situ production of bacterial carbon is a relatively small fraction of the organic carbon supplied to these systems. Also, bacterial carbon production is small relative to total carbon mineralization, indicating either that other organisms are responsible for the bulk of catabolic activity or that bacterial utilization of detritus in these systems is very inefficient in the sense that the majority of carbon assimilated is respired rather than allocated to new growth.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1984-11-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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