The energy contents (standing stock) of the floating mat formed by the green alga Cladophora sivaschensis and the energy transfers through it were quantified for a shallow hypersaline lake (at Cape Khersones, Crimea, Ukraine) during the spring months. Appropriate direct calorimetric techniques were applied to: (i) measure the heat energy dissipated by the mat community and by the free bacterioplankton in the water column below it; and (ii) differentiate between the heat flows by the heterotrophic and the phototrophic components of the community. It was shown that Cladophora biomass reached a peak of 579.5 g C m–2, contributing more than 99.6% of the total mat community. Throughout the spring, the total bacterial energy transfer (6 to 23 mW m–2) was as little as 1.1 to 2.6% of the total heat dissipated by the microplankton community. The rest of the estimated heat energy (584 to 1488 mW m–2) was associated with Cladophora metabolism. In the spring community: (i) the rate of biomass accumulation in the lake photic layer significantly exceeded its heterotrophic mineralisation; (ii) the efficiency of the microbial loop was too low to process even a minor part of the accumulated organic matter. The microcalorimetric technique was shown to be a highly promising approach for further studies of natural microbial mats and biofilms, biological systems with complex metabolism that involves not only aerobic processes but also anaerobic catabolism under local hypoxic/microxic conditions.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - Sept 2004|