The relationships between the abundance and activity of planktonic, heterotrophic microorganisms and the quantity and characteristics of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in a Rocky Mountain stream were evaluated. Peak values of glucose uptake, 2.1 nmol L-1 hr-1, and glucose concentration, 333 nM, occurred during spring snowmelt when the water temperature was 4.0??C and the DOC concentration was greatest. The turnover time of the in situ glucose pool ranged seasonally from 40-1110 hours, with a mean of 272 hr. Seasonal uptake of3H-glucose, particulate ATP concentrations, and direct counts of microbial biomass were independent of temperature, but were positively correlated with DOC concentrations and negatively correlated with stream discharge. Heterotrophic activity in melted snow was generally low, but patchy. In the summer, planktonic heterotrophic activity and microbial biomass exhibited small-scale diel cycles which did not appear to be related to fluctuations in discharge or DOC, but could be related to the activity of benthic invertebrates. Leaf-packs placed under the snow progressively lost weight and leachable organic material during the winter, indicating that the annual litterfall in the watershed may be one source of the spring flush of DOC. These results indicate that the availability of labile DOC to the stream ecosystem is the primary control on seasonal variation in heterotrophic activity of planktonic microbial populations. ?? 1993 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Additional publication details
Seasonal relationships between planktonic microorganisms and dissolved organic material in an alpine stream