Evidence for a temperature acclimation mechanism in bacteria: an empirical test of a membrane-mediated trade-off
Article first published online: 23 APR 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society
Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 898–908, August 2010
How to Cite
Hall, E. K., Singer , G. A., Kainz, M. J. and Lennon, J. T. (2010), Evidence for a temperature acclimation mechanism in bacteria: an empirical test of a membrane-mediated trade-off. Functional Ecology, 24: 898–908. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2010.01707.x
- Issue published online: 13 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 23 APR 2010
- Received 27 October 2009; accepted 23 February 2010Handling Editor: Michael Angilletta
- competitive trade-offs;
- membrane composition;
- resource acquisition;
1. Shifts in bacterial community composition along temporal and spatial temperature gradients occur in a wide range of habitats and have potentially important implications for ecosystem functioning. However, it is often challenging to empirically link an adaptation or acclimation that defines environmental niche or biogeography with a quantifiable phenotype, especially in micro-organisms.
2. Here we evaluate a possible mechanistic explanation for shifts in bacterioplankton community composition in response to temperature by testing a previously hypothesized membrane mediated trade-off between resource acquisition and respiratory costs.
3. We isolated two strains of Flavobacterium sp. at two temperatures (cold isolate and warm isolate) from the epilimnion of a small temperate lake in North Central Minnesota.
4. Compared with the cold isolate the warm isolate had higher growth rate, higher carrying capacity, lower lag time and lower respiration at the high temperature and lower phosphorus uptake at the low temperature. We also observed significant differences in membrane lipid composition between isolates and between environments that were consistent with adjustments necessary to maintain membrane fluidity at different temperatures.
5. Our results suggest that temperature acclimation in planktonic bacteria is, in part, a resource-dependent membrane-facilitated phenomenon. This study provides an explicit example of how a quantifiable phenotype can be linked through physiology to competitive ability and environmental niche.