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Effects of land use on water column bacterial activity and enzyme stoichiometry in stream ecosystems

Williams, C.J., Scott, A.B., Wilson, H.F., Xenopoulos, M.A. (2012). Effects of land use on water column bacterial activity and enzyme stoichiometry in stream ecosystems, 74(3), 483-494.


Fifty streams, located in southern Ontario, Canada, were visited in September 2008 to investigate the effect of varying land use, land cover, and associated resource inputs on water column bacterial abundance (BACT), production (BP), and extracellular enzyme activity and stoichiometry. Principle components analysis was used to summarize landscape data, producing three components (PCs), which explained 79. 2% of the variability in the data. The PCs grouped into the following gradients: (PC1) urban land use and continuous annual cropping to wetland-like cover, (PC2) rotational cropping to forest-like cover, and (PC3) increasing rural and agricultural land uses with increasing watershed size. These landscape gradients created imbalanced resource availability. Nutrient resources were more abundant in streams with more intensive anthropogenic land uses, but carbon availability was primarily controlled by the abundance of natural land covers (wetland and wooded areas). BACT, BP, and enzyme activities were positively related primarily to nutrient availability and/or anthropogenic land use (Stepwise R2 range: 0. 33-0. 73). The ratio of β-glucosidase to alkaline phosphatase activity approached a 1:1 balance with increasing anthropogenic land use, decreased wetland and forest cover, and increased total dissolved nitrogen. The ratio of leucine-aminopeptidase to alkaline phosphatase activity approached 1:1 with both increased dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen. Moreover, enzyme C:N:P ratios moved closer to 1:1:1 with faster water column bacterial turnover times. These results suggest that water column microbial communities are better able to balance resource availability with growth in streams receiving nutrient subsidies from anthropogenic sources and under these conditions when carbon resources increase. © 2011 Springer Basel AG.

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