Seasonal dynamics of phytoplankton and planktonic protozoan communities in a northern temperate humic lake: Diversity in a dinoflagellate dominated system

J. M. Graham, A. D. Kent, G. H. Lauster, A. C. Yannarell, L. E. Graham, E. W. Triplett

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Species diversity and richness, and seasonal population dynamics of phytoplankton, planktonic protozoa, and bacterioplankton sampled from the epilimnion of Crystal Bog in 2000, were examined in order to test the hypothesis that these groups' diversity and abundance patterns might be linked. Crystal Bog, a humic lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin, is part of the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research Site. Phytoplankton and planktonic protozoa were identified and enumerated in a settling chamber with an inverted microscope. Bacterial cells were enumerated with the use of fluorescence 4′, 6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI)-staining procedures, and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was used to assess bacterioplankton diversity. Bacterial cell counts showed little seasonal variation and averaged 2.6 × 106 cells/mL over the ice-free season. Phytoplankton and planktonic protozoan numbers varied by up to two orders of magnitude and were most numerous in late spring and summer. Dinoflagellates largely dominated Crystal Bog throughout the ice-free period, specifically Peridiniopsis quadridens in the spring, Peridinium limbatum in summer, and Gymnodinium fuscum and P. quadridens in fall. Brief blooms of Cryptomonas, Dinobryon, and Synura occurred between periods of dinoflagellate domination. The dominant dinoflagellate, Peridinium limbatum, was calculated to have a growth rate of 0.065 day-1 and a doubling time of 10.7 days. Heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNFs) were a consistent component of the planktonic protozoa; seasonal patterns were determined for three genera of HNFs (Monosiga, Bicosoeca, and Desmarella moniliformis). Three genera of ciliates (Coleps, Strobilidium, and Strombidium) comprised the greater part of the planktonic protozoa in Crystal Bog. The number of species of planktonic protozoa was too low to calculate a diversity index. Shannon-Weaver diversity indices for phytoplankton and bacterioplankton in the epilimnion followed very similar seasonal patterns in this lake, supporting the hypothesis that in freshwaters, diversity patterns of these groups are linked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-540
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science


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