Seasonal Variation of Virioplankton in a Eutrophic Shallow Lake

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Lake Donghu is a typical eutrophic freshwater lake in which high abundance of planktonic viruses was recently revealed. In this study, seasonal variation of planktonic viruses were observed at three different trophic sites, hypertrophic, eutrophic, and mesotrophic regions, and the correlation between their abundances and other aquatic environmental components, such as bacterioplankton, chlorophyll a, burst size, pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature, was analyzed for the period of an year. Virioplankton abundance detected by transmission electron microscope (TEM) ranged from 5.48 × 108 to 2.04 × 109 ml-1 in all the sites throughout the study, and the high abundances and seasonal variations of planktonic viruses were related to the trophic status at the sampled sites in Lake Donghu. Their annual mean abundances were, the highest at the hypertrophic site (1.23×109 ml-1), medium at the eutrophic site (1.19×109 ml-1), and the lowest at the mesotrophic site (1.02×109 ml-1). The VBR (virus-to-bacteria ratio) values were high, ranging from 49 to 56 on average at the three sampled sites. The data suggested that the high viral abundance and high VBR values might be associated with high density of phytoplankton including algae and cyanobacteria in this eutrophic shallow lake, and that planktonic viruses are important members of freshwater ecosystems.

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