Journal article

High light intensity mediates a shift from allochthonous to autochthonous carbon use in phototrophic stream biofilms

Changes in the riparian vegetation along stream channels, diurnal light availability, and longitudinal fluctuations in the local light regime in streams influence primary production and carbon (C) cycling in benthic stream biofilms. To investigate the influence of light availability on the uptake dynamics of autochthonous and allochthonous dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in benthic biofilms, we experimentally added 13C-labeled allochthonous DOC to biofilms grown under light intensities ranging from 5 to 152 μmol photons m- 2 s- 1. We calculated the net C flux, which showed that benthic biofilms released autochthonous DOC across the entire light gradient. Light availability and diurnal light patterns influenced C uptake by benthic biofilms. More allochthonous DOC was respired under low light availability and at night, whereas under high light availability and during the day mainly autochthonous C was respired by the benthic biofilm community.


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EPFL authors