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Applied and Environmental Microbiology

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seasonal response, stram biofilm communities, dissolved organic matter, nutrient enrichments




Dissolved organic matter (DOM) and inorganic nutrients may affect microbial communities in streams, but little is known about the impact of these factors on specific taxa within bacterial assemblages in biofilms. In this study, nutrient diffusing artificial substrates were used to examine bacterial responses to DOM (i.e., glucose, leaf leachate, and algal exudates) and inorganic nutrients (nitrate and phosphate singly and in combination). Artificial substrates were deployed for five seasons, from summer 2002 to summer 2003, in a northeastern Ohio stream. Differences were observed in the responses of bacterial taxa examined to various DOM and inorganic nutrient treatments, and the response patterns varied seasonally, indicating that resources that limit the bacterial communities change over time. Overall, the greatest responses were to labile, low-molecular-weight DOM (i.e., glucose) at times when chlorophyll a concentrations were low due to scouring during significant storm events. Different types of DOM and inorganic nutrients induced various responses among bacterial taxa in the biofilms examined, and these responses would not have been apparent if they were examined at the community level or if seasonal changes were not taken into account.

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