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Salinity and temperature interactions and their relationship to the microbiology of the estuarine environment Public Deposited

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Published August 1973. Facts and recommendations in this publication may no longer be valid. Please look for up-to-date information in the OSU Extension Catalog:  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog

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  • An estuary, unlike the open ocean, is a dynamic system that is continuously undergoing changes in its physical and chemical properties. Marked fluctuations in the levels and kinds of nutrients, temperature, and salinity are normally found in estuarine environments. These changes occur principally as a result of freshwater intrusions, tidal changes, evaporation, seasonal variations, and diurnal insolation. Moreover, imposition by man of thermal, fecal, and industrial wastes has also affected these properties. In terms of the ecology of aquatic environments, bacteria serve a number of functions, including the mineralization of refractile organic matter, the assimilation of low levels of dissolved organics, and possibly the contribution of essential growth factors to organisms of other trophic levels. In the estuarine environment, it would be expected that all of these microbial activities would be significantly affected by changes in termperature and salinity. There are numerous reports on the affects of either temperature or salinity on bacteria. However, a temperature response or a salt requirement by a marine bacterium does not validate inferences from the laboratory to the marine environment. Rather than make suppositions about in situ microbial activities based on laboratory data, we have been investigating the interrelationship of temperature and salinity on the growth and rates of assimilation of organics by marine psychrophilic bacteria. This report represents results of some of these investigations.
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  • Published in Stevenson, L H, and Rita R. Colwell. Estuarine Microbial Ecology. Columbia: Published for the Belle W. Baruch Coastal Research Institute by University of South Carolina Press, 1973. Print.
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