Bacterial Secondary Production in the Snake River

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Biology



Major Advisor

Robert Rychert


Aquatic ecosystems, like their terrestrial counterparts, function as a vast, interconnected web. Molecules are exchanged from one community to another in a constant cycle involving primary production, secondary production, and recycling of detritus materials. Unlike terrestrial ecosystems, however, aquatic ecosystems are quite dynamic on smaller time scales. Regular and serious change sometimes occurs on the order of hours (Azam, Smith, Steward and Hagtström 1993). Ever more dynamic are the riverine (or lotic) ecosystems (Amman, Ludwig, and Schleifer 1995), where the physical environment is in constant motion in three dimensions, and spatial distribution of organisms, communities, and energy resource must be considered on three axes instead of two. Understanding the ever-changing lotic ecosystem has been difficult. However, in recent years some progress has been made in the study of the relationships between microorganisms and the lotic environment (Grossart and Plough 2000; Kirchman 1993; Meyer 1994; Servais and Gamier 1993). The life cycles and environmental influences of organisms such as fish and insects in the lotic environment are well documented, but little study has been done on the function and influence of microbial communities in lotic environments (Servais 1995, Amann et al. 1995).

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