Effect of viruses and protists on bacteria in eddies of the Canary Current region (subtropical northeast Atlantic)
Limnol. Oceanogr., 55(2), 2010, 885-898 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2010.55.2.0885
ABSTRACT: The effect of oceanic eddies on microbial processes, with emphasis on bacterial losses due to protists and phages, was examined in the Canary Current region (subtropical northeast Atlantic) through the water column (down to 1000 m) during August 2006. Sampling stations were located in cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies, as well as in regions situated outside the influence of the eddy field (far-field stations). In the euphotic zone, in cyclonic eddies losses of bacteria due to viruses and protists were from 25.6% to 69.8%, and from not detected to 46.8% of bacterial production (BP) d-1, respectively. In anticyclonic eddies, these values ranged from 20.6% to 90.2% of BP d-1 for viruses, and from 8.0% to 79.4% of BP d-1 for protists. At far-field stations, losses of bacteria ranged from 48.7% to 66.9% for viruses, and from not detected to 44.8% for protists. In addition, covering all stations and depths (from the epipelagic to the bathypelagic layer), bacterial losses due to viruses were significantly higher than losses by protists, and did not differ significantly among depths except for the stations situated in anticyclonic eddies, where they were significantly higher in the epipelagic layer. Lysogenic infection was more frequent at anticyclonic stations, where the highest pressure of protists on bacteria was observed. Because of the importance of viral activity, we suggest that lysis products from bacteria may be a source of regenerated nutrients in the surface of the oligotrophic ocean, in addition to the input of nutrients upwelled by eddies.