The Effects of Nutrient Imbalances and Temperature on the Biomass Stoichiometry of Freshwater Bacteria

Frontiers in Microbiology
Katherine N PhillipsJames B Cotner


Two contemporary effects of humans on aquatic ecosystems are increasing temperatures and increasing nutrient concentrations from fertilizers. The response of organisms to these perturbations has important implications for ecosystem processes. We examined the effects of phosphorus (P) supply and temperature on organismal carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (C, N, and P) content, cell size and allocation into internal P pools in three strains of recently isolated bacteria (Agrobacterium sp., Flavobacterium sp., and Arthrobacter sp.). We manipulated resource C:P in chemostats and also manipulated temperatures from 10 to 30°C. Dilution rates were maintained for all the strains at ~25% of their temperature-specific maximum growth rate to simulate low growth rates in natural systems. Under these conditions, there were large effects of resource stoichiometry and temperature on biomass stoichiometry, element quotas, and cell size. Each strain was smaller when C-limited and larger when P-limited. Temperature had weak effects on morphology, little effect on C quotas, no effect on N quotas and biomass C:N, but had strong effects on P quotas, biomass N:P and C:P, and RNA. RNA content per cell increased with increasing temperature at most C:P s...Continue Reading


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