Sommaruga 2014 Sci Rep

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Sommaruga R, Kandolf G (2014) Negative consequences of glacial turbidity for the survival of freshwater planktonic heterotrophic flagellates. Sci Rep 4:4113.

» PMID: 24531332 Open Access

Sommaruga R, Kandolf Georg (2014) Sci Rep

Abstract: Heterotrophic (phagotrophic) flagellates are key components of planktonic food webs in freshwater and marine ecosystems because they are the main consumers of bacteria. Although they are ubiquitous in aquatic ecosystems, they were numerically undetectable in turbid glacier-fed lakes. Here we show that glacial particles had negative effects on the survival and growth of heterotrophic flagellates. The effect of glacial particles was concentration-dependent and was caused by their interference with bacterial uptake rather than by physical damage. These results are the first to reveal why establishment of heterotrophic flagellates populations is hindered in very turbid glacial lakes. Because glaciers are vanishing around the world, recently formed turbid meltwater lakes represent an excellent opportunity to understand the environmental conditions that probably shaped the establishment of lake communities at the end of the last glaciation. Keywords: Glacial ‘flour'