This study aims to characterize the effect of high organic loads, produced by a mussel farm in the Bizerte Lagoon, on the distribution of bacterial densities of, especially, marine heterotrophic bacteria and Vibrionaceae in the water column and in the sediment. Five sites located along a distance gradient from the mussel breeding ground were surveyed during the winter of 2000 and the summer of 2001. Below the mussel farm, the sediment was characterized by high percentages of fine particles (78-83%) and total organic carbon (TOC; 2.5%). Furthermore, this station exhibited high bacterial densities, especially of heterotrophic flora (1.82-2.83 108UFC/g) and Vibrionaceae (2.50-17.32 102 UFC/g). Principal components analysis revealed a strong relationship among bacterial density, high organic loads and hydrological parameters, particularly temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen.
Heterotrophic bacteria, Vibrionaceae, Organic matter, Bizerte Lagoon, Mussel farms.
Naceur Essid, Laboratoire de Biosurveillance de l'Environnement,
Sciences de Bizerte, 7021 Zarzouna Bizerte, Tunisie.