• Factors influencing the seasonal changes in primary productivity of the photosynthetic bacteria of Crawford Lake, Ontario

      Severn, Shawn R. T.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1981-07-09)
      A naturally occurring population of photosynthetic bacteria, located in the meromictic Crawford Lake, was examined during two field seasons (1979-1981). Primary production, biomass, light intensity, lake transparency, pH and bicarbonate concentration were all monitored during this period at selected time intervals. Analysis of the data indicated that (l4C) bacterial photosynthesis was potentially limited by the ambient bicarbonate concentration. Once a threshold value (of 270 mg/l) was reached a dramatic (2 to 10 fold) increase in the primary productivity of the bacteria was observed. Light intensity appeared to have very little effect on the primary productivity of the bacteria, even at times when analyses by Parkin and Brock (1980a) suggested that light intensity could be limiting (i.e., 3.0-5.0 ft. candles). Shifts in the absorption maxima at 430 nrn of the .bacteriochlorophyll spectrum suggested that changes in the species or strain composition of the photosynthetic bacteria had occurred during the summer months. It was speculated that these changes might reflect seasonal variation in the wavelength of light reaching the bacteria. Chemocline erosion did not have the same effect on the population size (biomass) of the photosynthetic bacteria in Crawford Lake (this thesis) as it did in Pink Lake (Dickman, 1979). In Crawford Lake the depth of the chemocline was lowered with no apparent loss in biomass (according to bacteriochlorophyll data). A reverse current was. proposed to explain the observation. The photosynthetic bacteria contributed a significant proportion (10-60%) of the lake1s primary productivitya Direct evidence was obtained with (14C) labelling of the photosynthetic bacteria, indica.ting that the zooplankton were grazing the photosynthetic bacteria. This indicated that some of the photosynthetic bacterial productivity was assimilated into the food chain of the lake. Therefore, it was concluded that the photosynthetic bacteria made a significant contribution to the total productivity of Crawford Lake.