Original paper

Utilisation of dissolved organic carbon from different sources by pelagic bacteria in an acidic mining lake

Kamjunke, Norbert; Bohn, Christiane; Grey, Jonathan

Abstract

We compared growth rates and efficiencies of pelagic bacteria from an extremely acidic mining lake (pH 2.6, mean depth 4.6 m) supplied with different sources of carbon: (1) excreted by phytoplankton, (2) derived from benthic algae, (3) entering the lake via ground water, and (4) leached from leaf litter. Bacteria exhibited high growth rate and efficiency on exudates of pelagic and benthic algae. In contrast, they showed a lower growth rate and efficiency with organic carbon from ground water, and grew at a very high rate but a very low efficiency on leaf leachate. Results from stable isotope analyses indicate a greater importance of benthic exudates and leaf leachate for bacteria in the epilimnion, and a higher impact of ground water sources in the hypolimnion. Given the magnitude of differential source inputs into the lake, we suggest that benthic primary production was the most important carbon source for pelagic bacteria. The benthic-pelagic coupling seems to be more relevant in this shallow acidic lake with low pelagic carbon dioxide concentrations than in neutral lakes.

Keywords

bacteriadocprimary productionstable isotopesacidic mining lake