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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 707, Issue 1, pp 159–172 | Cite as

Bottom-up effects on freshwater bacterivorous nematode populations: a microcosm approach

  • A. Gaudes
  • I. Muñoz
  • T. Moens
Primary Research Paper

Abstract

Nutrient enrichment may alter population dynamics of species in different ways depending on their life strategies. The aim of this study was to test the effect of different nutrient concentrations on the population development of two bacterivorous freshwater nematodes, Bursilla monhystera and Plectus aquatilis. Microcosms with autoclaved natural sand from a pristine stream (Fuirosos, NE of Spain) were enriched with different levels of phosphate, nitrate and ammonia as inorganic nutrients and glucose as a biodegradable dissolved organic carbon source. Although leaching of carbon and nutrients from the detritus fraction in the sediment initially may have overruled differences between treatments, later samplings revealed bottom-up control, with Bursilla monhystera abundances positively correlated to bacterial abundances at high nutrient concentrations. Nevertheless, there were several indications that nematodes in turn affected microbial abundance, most likely through excretion of ammonia and through grazing. In contrast to B. monhystera, Plectus aquatilis at high nutrient concentrations showed a unimodal abundance curve, while not increasing in abundance at low nutrient concentrations. Glucose enrichment did not have any stimulatory effect on either microbial or nematode abundances, probably as a result of unfavourable C:N:P stoichiometry. P enrichment, by contrast, stimulated microbial and Bursilla abundances. Our results indicate that episodic nutrient enrichment may affect populations of bacterial-feeding nematodes in the short term. Their longer-term dynamics may, however, be more dependent on leaching of carbon and nutrients from the pools of sediment-bound detritus.

Keywords

Eutrophication Nematodes Bacteria Bottom-up Top-down control 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Financial support for the experiments reported here was obtained from Ghent University through BOF project 0110600002 from the Flemish Science Foundation FWO through project G.0192.09 and from University of Barcelona trough SCARCE-Consolider project from the Spanish Ministry. Claudia Höckelmann kindly provided the Lake Zürich samples from which the Plectus aquatilis culture was isolated. Esther Mas, Giovani P. dos Santos, Dirk Van Gansbeke and Tania Nara Bezerra also contributed to sample processing. We also thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10750_2012_1421_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament d’Ecologia, Facultat de BiologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Marine Biology Lab, Biology DepartmentGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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