Nitrogen limitation of heterotrophic biofilms in boreal streams

Burrows, Ryan M. and Hotchkiss, Erin R. and Jonsson, Micael and Laudon, Hjalmar and McKie, Brendan G. and Sponseller, Ryan A. (2015) Nitrogen limitation of heterotrophic biofilms in boreal streams. Freshwater Biology. ISSN 1365-2427

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* Nutrient limitation of the biofilm is fundamental to stream ecosystem processes, as microbial activity shapes the biological availability and biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients. * We used nutrient-diffusing substrata (NDS) to investigate heterotrophic nutrient limitation of microbial respiration (MR) across 20 streams draining boreal landscapes in northern Sweden. We also explored variation in microbial biomass and community structure of biofilms that developed on NDS using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) biomarkers. Limitation was determined as a significant response of MR and biomass production on cellulose surfaces to enrichment with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or N + P, relative to controls. * Microbial respiration was N-limited, with an average 3.3-fold increase on N-amended NDS. Nitrogen limitation decreased, and control rates of MR increased, with greater background concentrations of inorganic N across the sites. * In contrast to MR, microbial biomass was primarily N-limited but was greatest for the N + P NDS. Accordingly, differences in respiratory versus biomass responses to nutrient addition resulted in significantly greater biomass-specific MR on N-amended NDS compared to all other treatments. In addition, PLFA biomarkers indicated distinct microbial communities on N and N + P NDS compared to controls and/or P NDS. * Greater MR and biomass, and the development of distinct microbial communities, when supplied with inorganic N suggest that factors which alter aquatic N loading during autumn may have important implications for ecosystem processes and the biogeochemistry of boreal streams and rivers. Our findings add to a growing body of evidence that the productivity of Fennoscandian boreal landscapes is constrained by N availability.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Uncontrolled Keywords: biofilms; microbial processing; nutrient limitation; phospholipid fatty acid; respiration
Future Forest Subject: Skogsbruk i klimatförändringens tid > Natur
Depositing User: Christer Enkvist
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2017 14:28
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2017 14:28

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