More, smaller bacteria in response to ocean's warming?
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AuthorsMorán, X.A.G. (Xosé Ánxelu Gutiérrez); Alonso-Sáez, L. (Laura); Nogueira, E. (Enrique); Ducklow, H.W. (Hugh); López-Urrutia-Lorente, Á. (Ángel); Díaz-Pérez, L. (Laura); Calvo-Díaz, A. (Alejandra); Arandia-Gorostidi, N. (Néstor); Huete-Stauffer, T. (Tamara); González, N. (Natalia)
Heterotrophic bacteria play a major role in organic matter cycling in the ocean. Although the high abundances and relatively fast growth rates of coastal surface bacterioplankton make them suitable sentinels of global change, past analyses have largely overlooked this functional group. Here, time series analysis of a decade of monthly observations in temperate Atlantic coastal waters revealed strong seasonal patterns in the abundance, size and biomass of the ubiquitous flow-cytometric groups of low (LNA) and high nucleic acid (HNA) content bacteria. Over this relatively short period, we also found that bacterioplankton cells were significantly smaller, a trend that is consistent with the hypothesized temperature-driven decrease in body size. Although decadal cell shrinking was observed for both groups, it was only LNA cells that were strongly coherent, with ecological theories linking temperature, abundance and individual size on both the seasonal and interannual scale. We explain this ...
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