Effect of rainstorms on heterotrophic bacterial activity in a hypertrophic African lake

Abstract

Hartbeespoort Dam is a hypertrophic man-made lake which is located in the Transvaal Province of South Africa. This region has recently experienced its most severe drought of the century. However, on three occasions in the summer rainy seasons of 1984 and 1985, major rainfalls (> 50 mm) occurred which caused large inflows to the lake. Inflowing river water entered as a density current causing marked silting of the water. Within the epilimnion (0–10 m) prior to these rainfalls there was usually no variation of bacterial numbers with depth, but heterotrophic bacterial activity (glucose uptake) decreased with depth concomitant with primary production. With the increased river inflow bacterial numbers did not increase but bacterial activity at the bottom of the epilimnion (10 m) increased to as high as 2.7 µg C l−1 h−1 in January 1985, reversing the depth profile of bacterial activity within the epilimnion. This resulted in decreased glucose concentrations (Kt + Sn) and turnover times. Heterotrophic activity per cell increased by between 2.5 and 5 times. These data demonstrate that storm events are important phenomena causing short-term changes in the metabolic activity of planktonic heterotrophic bacteria in lakes.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00017530

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Cite this paper

@article{Robarts2004EffectOR, title={Effect of rainstorms on heterotrophic bacterial activity in a hypertrophic African lake}, author={Richard D. Robarts}, journal={Hydrobiologia}, year={2004}, volume={148}, pages={281-286} }