Pelagic food web patterns: do they modulate virus and nanoflagellate effects on picoplankton during the phytoplankton spring bloom?

Pascaline Ory, Hans J Hartmann, Florence Jude, Christine Dupuy, Yolanda Del Amo, Philippe Catala, Françoise Mornet, Valérie Huet, Benoit Jan, Dorothée Vincent, Benoit Sautour, Hélène Montanié
Environmental Microbiology 2010, 12 (10): 2755-72
As agents of mortality, viruses and nanoflagellates impact on picoplankton populations. We examined the differences in interactions between these compartments in two French Atlantic bays. Microbes, considered here as central actors of the planktonic food web, were first monitored seasonally in Arcachon (2005) and Marennes-Oléron (2006) bays. Their dynamics were evaluated to categorize trophic periods using the models of Legendre and Rassoulzadegan as a reference framework. Microbial interactions were then compared through 48 h batch culture experiments performed during the phytoplankton spring bloom, identified as herbivorous in Marennes and multivorous in Arcachon. Marennes was spatially homogeneous compared with Arcachon. The former was potentially more productive, featuring a large number of heterotrophic pathways, while autotrophic mechanisms dominated in Arcachon. A link was found between viruses and phytoplankton in Marennes, suggesting a role of virus in the regulation of autotroph biomass. Moreover, the virus-bacteria relation was weaker in Marennes, with a bacterial lysis potential of 2.6% compared with 39% in Arcachon. The batch experiments (based on size-fractionation and viral enrichment) revealed different microbial interactions that corresponded to the spring-bloom trophic interactions in each bay. In Arcachon, where there is a multivorous web, flagellate predation and viral lysis acted in an opposite way on picophytoplankton. When together they both reduced viral production. Conversely, in Marennes (herbivorous web), flagellates and viruses together increased viral production. Differences in the composition of the bacterial community composition explained the combined flagellate-virus effects on viral production in the two bays.

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