Short-cutting the microbial food web - does dispersal of bacteria function as a subsidy to lake ecosystems?

Tidsperiod: 2021-01-01 till 2024-12-31

Projektledare: Eva Lindström

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 3 652 000 SEK

The aim of this project is to evaluate the role of dispersing bacteria as vectors of elements and energy for lake ecosystems. There is an apparent spatial component in lake ecosystem ecology due to the strong connection to surrounding ecosystems through running waters, but previous research on this topic has primarily been focused on dead organic matter and not on living organisms. The central hypothesis of this proposal is that immigrating bacteria can quantitatively contribute to biomass production at higher trophic levels. More specifically, we hypothesize that this is the case because immigrating bacteria are more vulnerable to grazing and of better food quality compared to indigenous bacteria, the latter due to a higher P-content. The material provided the ecosystem through dispersed bacteria should also more efficiently contribute to production in the ecosystem compared to transported organic matter since it is entering the food chain at a higher tropic level. The project will be conducted as a four-years PhD student project, using both experiments and field studies as well as modern technology for diversity and food quality measurements.