Spatial community dynamics of bacterioplankton were evaluated along the length of the former stream channel of Elledge Lake, a small reservoir in western Alabama. The reservoir was strongly stratified from April to October with up to a 10??C temperature difference across the 1 m deep metalimnion. Bacterial biomass was highest during late summer, with a general pattern of increasing abundance from the inflowing river (???10 ??g C l-1) to the dam (???20-30 ??g C l-1). Bacterial numbers also increased following a >10-fold increase in turbidity associated with a major precipitation event, although only ???10% of these cells were viable. The percentage of viable cells generally increased through the stratified period with 50-70% viable cells in late summer. Overall, an average of 38% of bacterial cells were viable, with a range from <20 to 70%. Although these values were similar to those found by others, additional patterns were identified that have not been previously observed: a marked decline in viable cells was found following turbid storm inflows and increases in the percentage of viable cells occurred during spring warming and following autumnal mixing events. Although a modest increase in abundance occurred along the gradient from inflow down-reservoir to the dam, bacterial abundance did not increase near the dam in a pattern coincident with the commonly observed increased algal biomass in the lacustrine portion of reservoir ecosystems. The increases observed in bacterial viability moving from the inflowing rivers towards the dam and later in stratified periods stress the importance of differences in environmental conditions in time and space in regulating bacterial biomass and development, as well as of shifts that would be anticipated accompanying altered hydrological regimes under climatic change.
Additional publication details
Seasonal and spatial distribution of bacterial biomass and the percentage of viable cells in a reservoir of Alabama