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A light-induced shortcut in the planktonic microbial loop

AuthorsPtacnik, Robert; Gomes, Ana ; Royer, S.-J. ; Calbet, Albert ; Gasol, Josep M. ; Isari, Stamatina ; Pitta, Paraskevi
Issue DateJul-2016
PublisherNature Publishing Group
CitationScientific Reports 6: 29286 (2016)
AbstractMixotrophs combine photosynthesis with phagotrophy to cover their demands in energy and essential nutrients. This gives them a competitive advantage under oligotropihc conditions, where nutrients and bacteria concentrations are low. As the advantage for the mixotroph depends on light, the competition between mixo- and heterotrophic bacterivores should be regulated by light. To test this hypothesis, we incubated natural plankton from the ultra-oligotrophic Eastern Mediterranean in a set of mesocosms maintained at 4 light levels spanning a 10-fold light gradient. Picoplankton (heterotrophic bacteria (HB), pico-sized cyanobacteria, and small-sized flagellates) showed the fastest and most marked response to light, with pronounced predator-prey cycles, in the high-light treatments. Albeit cell specific activity of heterotrophic bacteria was constant across the light gradient, bacterial abundances exhibited an inverse relationship with light. This pattern was explained by light-induced top-down control of HB by bacterivorous phototrophic eukaryotes (PE), which was evidenced by a significant inverse relationship between HB net growth rate and PE abundances. Our results show that light mediates the impact of mixotrophic bacterivores. As mixo- and heterotrophs differ in the way they remineralize nutrients, these results have far-reaching implications for how nutrient cycling is affected by light
DescriptionPtacnik, Robert ... et al.-- 10 pages, 4 figures, 1 table, supplementary information https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep29286
Publisher version (URL)https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep29286
Identifiersdoi: 10.1038/srep29286
issn: 2045-2322
e-issn: 2045-2322
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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