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Sediment bacterial production, abundance and P-glucosidase activity were studied in relation to carbohydrate concentrations in diatom-inhabited intertidal mudflats during the tidal cycle in the Ems-Dollard estuary in summer 1996. During the diurnally emerged period significant increases in water- and EDTA-extracted carbohydrates, bacterial production and abundance in the sediment surface layer (0 to 2 mm) were established. Exposure had no effect on algal biomass (chlorophyll a), doubling times of bacteria or beta-glucosidase activity in the surface layer. Net changes in water-extracted carbohydrates together with net changes in total and CTC (5- cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride) stained bacteria accounted for 85 % of the variations in net increase in bacterial production during the emerged period. During the submerged period significant decreases of water-extracted carbohydrate concentrations occurred. The changes in beta- glucosidase activity and water-extracted carbohydrates could explain 93 % of the net changes in bacterial production during the submerged period. Water-extracted carbohydrates derived mainly from Live diatoms. The source of EDTA-extracted carbohydrates was less specific, but related to chlorophyll a and pheopigments. The results suggest that the net increases in water-extracted carbohydrates due to diatom activities are indirectly coupled to benthic heterotrophic bacterial production. Bacteria do respond to tidal variations in organic compounds, and water-extracted carbohydrates are an important indicator. [KEYWORDS: extracellular polymeric substances; carbohydrates;benthic bacterial production; bacterial abundance; beta-lucosidase activity; cohesive sediments; diatoms; Ems-Dollard estuary Deep-sea sediments; 5-cyano-2;3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride;marine-sediments; organic-matter; biogenic stabilization; cohesive sediments; respiring bacteria; enzyme-activities;protein-synthesis; epipelic diatoms]
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Journal publication date1999

ID: 271210