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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2011 Mar-Apr;58(2):152-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2011.00531.x. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Mixotrophy in the newly described phototrophic dinoflagellate Woloszynskia cincta from western Korean waters: feeding mechanism, prey species and effect of prey concentration.

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School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


Woloszynskia species are dinoflagellates in the order Suessiales inhabiting marine or freshwater environments; their ecophysiology has not been well investigated, in particular, their trophic modes have yet to be elucidated. Previous studies have reported that all Woloszynskia species are photosynthetic, although their mixotrophic abilities have not been explored. We isolated a dinoflagellate from coastal waters in western Korea and established clonal cultures of this dinoflagellate. On the basis of morphology and analyses of the small/large subunit rRNA gene (GenBank accession number=FR690459), we identified this dinoflagellate as Woloszynskia cincta. We further established that this dinoflagellate is a mixotrophic species. We found that W. cincta fed on algal prey using a peduncle. Among the diverse prey provided, W. cincta ingested those algal species that had equivalent spherical diameters (ESDs) ≤12.6 μm, exceptions being the diatom Skeletonema costatum and the dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum. However, W. cincta did not feed on larger algal species that had ESDs≥15 μm. The specific growth rates for W. cincta increased continuously with increasing mean prey concentration before saturating at a concentration of ca. 134 ng C/ml (1,340 cells/ml) when Heterosigma akashiwo was used as food. The maximum specific growth rate (i.e. mixotrophic growth) of W. cincta feeding on H. akashiwo was 0.499 d(-1) at 20 °C under illumination of 20 μE/m(2) /s on a 14:10 h light-dark cycle, whereas its growth rate (i.e. phototrophic growth) under the same light conditions without added prey was 0.040 d(-1). The maximum ingestion and clearance rates of W. cincta feeding on H. akashiwo were 0.49 ng C/grazer/d (4.9 cells/grazer/d) and 1.9 μl/grazer/h, respectively. The calculated grazing coefficients for W. cincta on co-occurring H. akashiwo were up to 1.1 d(-1). The results of the present study suggest that grazing by W. cincta can have a potentially considerable impact on prey algal populations.

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