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Algae > Volume 22(4); 2007 > Article
Algae 2007;22(4): 287-295. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2007.22.4.287
Ecological Characteristics of the Endoparasitic Dinoflagellate, Amoebophrya sp. ex Heterocapsa triquetra Isolated from Jinhae Bay, Korea
Jong-Gyu Park1*, Hyun-Jung Hur2, D. Wayne Coats3 and Wonho Yih1

1Department of oceanography, Kunsan National University, Kunsan, 573-701, Korea
2Welfare and Environment Bureau, Gimhae City Hall, Geoje, 650-800, Korea
3Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland 21037-0028, USA
Infection of free-living dinoflagellates by endoparasitic dinoflagellates of the genus Amoebophrya are thought to have significant impacts on host population dynamics and have long been proposed to be a potential biological agent for controlling harmful algal bloom (HAB). To understand the impact of Amoebophrya on particular host species, however, it is necessary to quantify aspects the parasites life cycle. Here we used cultures of Amoebophryahost systems from Jinhae Bay, Korea to determine, parasite generation time, and dinospore survival and infectivity. The proportion of host cells infected by Amoebophrya sp. changed sharply from 5% to 87% with increasing dinospore:host inoculation ratios. In the absence of H. triquetra, most free-living dinospores died within 72 hours and their ability to infect host cells decreased remarkably in a day. The relatively short free-living phase of Amoebophrya suggests that the spread of infections is most likely to occur during seasons of high host abundance, as that is when dinospores have the greatest chance of encountering host cells. Infection of host cells inoculated with dinospores during the day was higher than when inoculated during the night, suggesting that infection rates might be related to environmental light conditions and/or diurnal biological rhythm of host species. Total generation times of parasite strains from a thecate dinoflagellate Heterocapsa triquetra were nearly the same regardless of dinospore:host inoculation ratios, representing 54 ± 0.5 h in a 1:1 ratio and 55 ± 1.2 h in a 20:1 ratio. Dinospore production of Amoebophrya sp. infecting Heterocapsa triquetra was estimated to be 125 dinospores per a strain of Amoebophrya sp. There is a growing need to maintain a variety of host-parasite systems in culture and to examine their autecology under various environmental conditions. Such studies would be very helpful in understanding ecological role of these parasites, their overlooked importance in the flow of material and energy in marine ecosystem, and their practical use as biological control agents applied directly to areas affected by HAB.
Key words: Amoebophrya, dinospore, Harmful algal bloom, Heterocapsa triquetra, Jinhae Bay, Parasitic dinoflagellate

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