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Scale-dependent relations between bacteria, organic matter and invertebrates in a headwater stream

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Microbial activity, bacterial and invertebrate densities and particulate organic matter (POM) content were assessed using a modified freeze-coring technique in a Welsh mountain stream. Bacterial cell densities ranged between 0.22 × 108 and 4.47 × 108 cells cm−3 and increased with sediment depth reaching maxima in depths between 30 and 40-cm. In contrast, the highest microbial activity (ETS) was found at depths between 5 and 15 cm, sharply declining with depths > 20 cm. POM content was substantially higher in the upper sediment layer (0–5 cm) and declined with increasing sediment depth. Higher nitrogen and organic carbon contents were recorded for particles < 63 μm than for larger size fractions. Meio- and macroinvertebrate densities were significantly and negatively correlated with bacterial number. The results of a multiple regression analysis suggest that bacterial densities, porewater volume and particulate organic carbon (POC) accounted for more than 50% of the density variations of harpacticoids and larval chironomids. The results underline a strong link between physical habitat properties in a scale-dependent fashion.
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Keywords: BACTERIAL NUMBER; ENZYMATIC ACTIVITY; GRAVEL STREAM; HYPORHEIC ZONE; INVERTEBRATES; PORE SPACE; SURFACE/SUBSURFACE ZONES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Fundamental and Applied Limnology is an international journal for freshwater research in the widest sense, including problems of marine biology and brackish water research. Papers dealing with ecological topics are especially welcome in association with experimental or physiological studies. All papers published in this journal are subject to peer review.

    Archiv für Hydrobiologie, now Fundamental and Applied Limnology has been published continuously since 1906.

    Volumes prior to vol. 168 were published under the previous title Archiv für Hydrobiologie.
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