Marine Biology

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 285–292 | Cite as

Temporal and spatial variation in bacterial production in the water column over a coral reef

  • D. J. W. Moriarty
  • P. C. Pollard
  • W. G. Hunt


Production and doubling times of the bacterial populations in the water around and over the reefs at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef were measured during summer and winter, 1982 and 1983. Bacterial productivity, determined from the rate of tritiated thymidine incorporation into DNA, was high over the reef flats and a Thalassia hemprichii sand flat (28 to 58 μg Cl-1 d-1). Bacterial growth rates increased during the day and fell at night over the reef flats and seagrass bed. Growth rates were slower over the reef front and in open water. Doubling times ranged from about 2 d in the open water to about 3 h over the reef flat in summer. As numbers did not increase, grazing was probably intense on the reef flats. Growth rates were much slower in winter. The main source of organic nutrient used by the bacteria was probably mucus released following photosynthesis in the corals. The cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. was sometimes very numerous, especially in summer when 2×108 cells l-1 were recorded in one water mass. The number of bacteria was also very high in summer, with values ranging from 1×109 to 2.5×109l-1.


Photosynthesis Thymidine Coral Reef Water Mass Open Water 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. W. Moriarty
    • 1
  • P. C. Pollard
    • 1
  • W. G. Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Marine LaboratoriesClevelandAustralia

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