1. Laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of small-scale turbulent motion on the growth and respiration of bacteria in an oscillating grid apparatus. The experiments were performed under a range of energy dissipation levels similar to those occurring in freshwater systems. 2. The results showed that small-scale turbulent motion does have an effect on bacterial growth and respiration. A higher gradient in the dissolved oxygen time series, higher 5-day biochemical oxygen demand values, increased bacterial abundance, increased bacterial specific respiration, higher bacterial growth rate and increased nutrient uptake were all observed when the energy dissipation rate in the water column was increased. 3. This has implications for traditional laboratory procedures that are used to characterise bacterial metabolic rates under stagnant fluid-flow conditions, such as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), which would be influenced by the effects of the small-scale fluid motion inherent in aquatic environments. According to our results, BOD values in natural systems experiencing fluid motion would be higher than traditional bottle-derived rates.
- Biochemical oxygen demand
- Energy dissipation