Marine Biology

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 257–263 | Cite as

The trophic role of glycolic acid in coastal seawater. II. Seasonal changes in concentration and heterotrophic use in Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts, USA

  • R. T. Wright
  • N. M. Shah


Glycolic acid is a known algal excretory product which is found in marine waters and is readily metabolized by marine bacteria. The following parameters were measured over the course of a year in Ipswich Bay: chlorophyll a, temperature, viable bacteria, heterotrophic uptake of glycolate, and glycolate concentrations. The latter two were combined to give estimates of the flux of glycolate for a station 3 km out in the bay and for an inshore station. Pronounced seasonal changes were found for all parameters. Statistically significant correlations between heterotrophic Vmax and glycolic acid concentrations and temperature were found, but not between planktonic chlorophyll a and any of the other parameters. Measurements of glycolic acid flux yielded an annual flux of 2.84 g m-2 for the bay station, which is about 0.5% of the bay phytoplankton production. Glycolic acid turns over roughly 12 times per year in the bay. It contributes perhaps as much to bacterial metabolism as any other single substrate, but is apparently not of dominating importance.


Phytoplankton Marine Bacterium Glycolic Acid Phytoplankton Production Viable Bacterium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. T. Wright
    • 1
  • N. M. Shah
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyGordon CollegeWenhamUSA
  2. 2.Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean ScienceBoothbay HarborUSA

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