Heterotrophic Bacteria and Bacterivorous Protozoa in Oceanic Macroaggregates

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Science  19 Nov 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4574, pp. 795-797
DOI: 10.1126/science.218.4574.795


Oceanic macroaggregates (marine snow and Rhizosolenia mats) sampled from the Sargasso Sea are associated with bacterial and protozoan populations up to four orders of magnitude greater than those present in samples from the surrounding water. Filamentous, curved, and spiral bacteria constituted a higher proportion of the bacteria associated with the particles than were found among bacteria in the surrounding water. Protozoan populations were dominated numerically by heterotrophic microflagellates, but ciliates and amoebas were also observed. Macroaggregates are highly enriched heterotrophic microenvironments in the oceans and may be significant for the cycling of particulate organic matter in planktonic food chains.

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