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ALGAE > Volume 30(4); 2015 > Article
ALGAE 2015;30(4): 281-290. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2015.30.4.281
Ingestion of the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus by the mixotrophic red tide ciliate Mesodinium rubrum
Yeong Du Yoo1, Kyeong Ah Seong2, Geumog Myung1, Hyung Seop Kim1, Hae Jin Jeong3, Brian Palenik4 and Wonho Yih1,*

1Department of Marine Biotechnology, College of Ocean Science and Technology, Kunsan National University, Kunsan 54150, Korea
2Converging Research Division, National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea, Chungnam 33662, Korea
3School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
4Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0202, USA
*Corresponding Author  Email: ywonho@kunsan.ac.kr
We explored phagotrophy of the phototrophic ciliate Mesodinium rubrum on the cyanobacterium Synechococcus. The ingestion and clearance rates of M. rubrum on Synechococcus as a function of prey concentration were measured. In addition, we calculated grazing coefficients by combining the field data on abundance of M. rubrum and co-occurring Synechococcus spp. with laboratory data on ingestion rates. The ingestion rate of M. rubrum on Synechococcus sp. linearly increased with increasing prey concentrations up to approximately 1.9 × 106 cells mL-1, to exhibit sigmoidal saturation at higher concentrations. The maximum ingestion and clearance rates of M. rubrum on Synechococcus were 2.1 cells predator-1 h-1 and 4.2 nL predator-1 h-1, respectively. The calculated grazing coefficients attributable to M. rubrum on cooccurring Synechococcus spp. reached 0.04 day-1. M. rubrum could thus sometimes be an effective protistan grazer of Synechococcus in marine planktonic food webs. M. rubrum might also be able to form recurrent and massive blooms in diverse marine environments supported by the unique and complex mixotrophic arrays including phagotrphy on hetrotrophic bacteria and Synechococcus as well as digestion, kleptoplastidy and karyoklepty after the ingestion of cryptophyte prey.
Key words: grazing impact; ingestion; Mesodinium; mixotrophy; Synechococcus

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