Even at the community level, interactions between bacterioplankton, viruses and grazers are thus much more complex than hitherto assumed. More than ever, additional studies are needed to fully assess the factors responsible for the variability in the interactions between grazers, bacteria and viruses, especially in freshwater ecosystems, as well as their ecological significance
for the microbial community structure/role and whole ecosystem functioning. Methods Study sites and sampling Water samples were collected from the two largest natural lakes in France. For the purpose of this study, 40 Akt inhibition litres of water samples were collected near the surface (i.e. 2 m) using a water pump and large tubing on 26 March and 10 July 2007 in Lake Annecy (referred to later as LA1 and LA2, respectively) and on 02 April and 17 July 2007 in Lake Bourget (i.e. LB1 and LB2). In this way, for each period, samples were separated by only one week between the two lakes. Physicochemical variables Total organic
carbon (TOC) and nutrient concentrations (NH4, NO3, PO4, total phosphorus) were measured at each station and date, according to the standard French protocols AFNOR (details available LY3039478 in vivo at http://www.dijon.inra.fr/thonon/les_plateaux_techniques/le_laboratoire_de_physico_chimie). A conductivity-temperature-depth measuring device (CTD SEABIRD SAB 19 Seacat profiler) and a Chlorophyll fluorescence Fluoroprobe (BBE Salubrinal datasheet Moaldenke, Germany) were used to obtain vertical profiles of water temperature, conductivity, dissolved Tideglusib oxygen concentration and chlorophyll a fluorescence. Size fractionation approach Immediately after sampling, samples were pre-filtered through a 60-μm mesh screen, followed by pre-filtration through Nucleopore membranes (< 5-μm pore size) under low differential pressure (< 50 mm Hg) in order to exclude large eukaryotes. We could thus focus our attention on the small eukaryotes, autotrophic and heterotrophic prokaryotes and viruses. A third of the pre-filtered sample was then filtered through 1.6-μm pore size to yield a total free-living bacteria
and ‘grazer-free’ containing fraction, which was confirmed by detailed microscopic examination at the beginning and at the end of the experiments. The remaining pre-filtred sample was divided into two parts; one of them was kept in a black box (simulating darkness) to inhibit the autotrophic activity. Therefore, three combinations of treatments were performed: the treatment ‘Viruses + Bacteria + heterotrophic Flagellates (grazers) + Autotrophs’ (fraction < 5 μm, referred to as VFA); the treatment ‘Viruses + Bacteria + Flagellates (grazers)’ (fraction < 5 μm put into a black box; VF) and finally the treatment ‘Viruses + Bacteria’, i.e. without the flagellates and the autotrophic community (fraction < 1.6 μm, referred as V). Samples so transformed were divided into triplicates and poured into 2.