Effects of Volcanic Pumice Inputs on Microbial Community Composition and Dissolved C/P Ratios in Lake Waters: an Experimental Approach

B. E. Modenutti, E. G. Balseiro, M. A. Bastidas Navarro, Z. M. Lee, M. S. Souza, J. R. Corman, J. J. Elser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Volcanic eruptions discharge massive amounts of ash and pumice that decrease light penetration in lakes and lead to concomitant increases in phosphorus (P) concentrations and shifts in soluble C/P ratios. The consequences of these sudden changes for bacteria community composition, metabolism, and enzymatic activity remain unclear, especially for the dynamic period immediately after pumice deposition. Thus, the main aim of our study was to determine how ambient bacterial communities respond to pumice inputs in lakes that differ in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and P concentrations and to what extent these responses are moderated by substrate C/P stoichiometry. We performed an outdoor experiment with natural lake water from two lakes that differed in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration. We measured nutrient concentrations, alkaline phosphatase activity (APA), and DOC consumption rates and assessed different components of bacterial community structure using next-generation sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Pumice inputs caused a decrease in the C/P ratio of dissolved resources, a decrease in APA, and an increase in DOC consumption, indicating reduced P limitation. These changes in bacteria metabolism were coupled with modifications in the assemblage composition and an increase in diversity, with increases in bacterial taxa associated with biofilm and sediments, in predatory bacteria, and in bacteria with gliding motility. Our results confirm that volcanic eruptions have the potential to alter nutrient partitioning and light penetration in receiving waterways which can have dramatic impacts on microbial community dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria diversity
  • Dissolved resources
  • Eruption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science


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