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Estimates of protozoan‐ and viral‐mediated mortality of bacterioplankton in Lake Bourget (France)

Jacquet, Stéphan; Domaizon-Pialat, Isabelle; Personnic, Sébastien; Pradeep Ram, Angia Sriram; Hedal, Mikal; Duhamel, Solange; Sime-Ngando, Télesphore

1. We performed three, 1‐week in situ experiments in March‐April (expt 1), May (expt 2) and August (expt 3) 2003 in order to assess protozoan and virus‐induced mortality of heterotrophic bacteria in a French lake. Viral and bacterial abundances were obtained using flow cytometry (FCM) while protozoa were counted using epifluorescence microscopy (EFM).

2. A dilution approach, applied to pretreated grazer‐free samples, allowed us to estimate that viral lysis could be responsible for 60% (expt 1), 35% (expt 2) and 52% (expt 3) of daily heterotrophic bacterial mortality. Flagellate (both mixotrophic and heterotrophic) grazing in untreated samples, was responsible for 56% (expt 1), 63% (expt 2) and 18% (expt 3) of daily heterotrophic bacteria removal.

3. These results therefore suggest that both viral lysis and flagellate grazing had a strong impact on bacterial mortality, and this impact varied seasonally.

4. From parallel transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis, we found that the burst size (i.e. the number of viruses potentially released per lysed cell) ranged from nine to 25 (expt 1), 10 to 35 (expt 2) and eight to 25 (expt 3). The percentage of infected heterotrophic bacteria was 5.7% (expt 1), 3.4% (expt 2) and 5.7% (expt 3) so that the calculated percentage of bacterial mortality induced by viruses was 6.3% (expt 1), 3.7% (expt 2) and 6.3% (expt 3).

5. It is clear that the dilution‐FCM and TEM methods yielded different estimates of viral impact, although both methods revealed an increased impact of viruses during summer.

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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
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April 6, 2020