Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02561.x
Title (Primary) Contribution of biofilm-dwelling consumers to pelagic–benthic coupling in a large river
Author Kathol, M.; Fischer, H.; Weitere, M.
Source Titel Freshwater Biology
Year 2011
Department FLOEK
Volume 56
Issue 6
Page From 1160
Page To 1172
Language englisch
Keywords biofilms; ciliates; pelagic–benthic coupling; periphyton; plankton

1. Over the course of this 17-month study, we assessed the potential loss of plankton (bacteria, algae, heterotrophic flagellates) to consumers (ciliates and rotifers) within mature biofilms established on natural substrata exposed to the main current of the River Rhine (Germany). Once a month, in flow cells in a bypass system to the River Rhine, we measured the clearance rates of the biofilm-associated consumers on the different groups within the natural plankton.

2. Ciliates were the most dominant consumers, among which planktivorous groups, particularly peritrichs and (in spring and summer) heterotrichs dominated. Consumer biomass varied with season, with the highest density occurring directly after the appearance of the phytoplankton spring peak.

3. Clearance rates on plankton ranged from 96 to 565 L m−2 d−1 for bacteria and 66–749 L m−2 d−1 for algae, with a preference for algae in summer and for bacteria in winter. This pattern coincided with seasonal changes in the structures of the grazer communities. The consumers (both ciliates and rotifers with total standing stocks ranging between 19 and 572 mg C m−2) imported a substantial amount of organic matter (between 15 and 137 mg C m−2 d−1) into the biofilm.

4.  These results highlight the potential importance of consumers in the biofilm as a trophic link between the plankton and the benthos, a function that has hitherto mostly been attributed to filter-feeding bivalves. In contrast to bivalves, the biofilm-dwelling consumers show a more dynamic response towards the plankton density and composition. Such dynamic components need to be considered when estimating total plankton consumption by the benthos.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Kathol, M., Fischer, H., Weitere, M. (2011):
Contribution of biofilm-dwelling consumers to pelagic–benthic coupling in a large river
Freshw. Biol. 56 (6), 1160 - 1172 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02561.x