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Mixotrophy in the phototrophic dinoflagellate Takayama helix (family Kareniaceae): Predator of diverse toxic and harmful dinoflagellates

Hae Jin Jeong, Jin Hee Ok, An Suk Lim, Ji Eun Kwon, So Jin Kim, Sung Yeon Lee
Harmful Algae 2016, 60: 92-106
Takayama spp. are phototrophic dinoflagellates belonging to the family Kareniaceae and have caused fish kills in several countries. Understanding their trophic mode and interactions with co-occurring phytoplankton species are critical steps in comprehending their ecological roles in marine ecosystems, bloom dynamics, and dinoflagellate evolution. To investigate the trophic mode and interactions of Takayama spp., the ability of Takayama helix to feed on diverse algal species was examined, and the mechanisms of prey ingestion were determined. Furthermore, growth and ingestion rates of T. helix feeding on the dinoflagellates Alexandrium lusitanicum and Alexandrium tamarense, which are two optimal prey items, were determined as a function of prey concentration. T. helix ingested large dinoflagellates ≥15μm in size, except for the dinoflagellates Karenia mikimotoi, Akashiwo sanguinea, and Prorocentrum micans (i.e., it fed on Alexandrium minutum, A. lusitanicum, A. tamarense, A. pacificum, A. insuetum, Cochlodinium polykrikoides, Coolia canariensis, Coolia malayensis, Gambierdiscus caribaeus, Gymnodinium aureolum, Gymnodinium catenatum, Gymnodinium instriatum, Heterocapsa triquetra, Lingulodinium polyedrum, and Scrippsiella trochoidea). All these edible prey items are dinoflagellates that have diverse eco-physiology such as toxic and non-toxic, single and chain forming, and planktonic and benthic forms. However, T. helix did not feed on small flagellates and dinoflagellates <13μm in size (i.e., the prymnesiophyte Isochrysis galbana; the cryptophytes Teleaulax sp., Storeatula major, and Rhodomonas salina; the raphidophyte Heterosigma akashiwo; the dinoflagellates Heterocapsa rotundata, Amphidinium carterae, Prorocentrum minimum; or the small diatom Skeletonema costatum). T. helix ingested Heterocapsa triquetra by direct engulfment, but sucked materials from the rest of the edible prey species through the intercingular region of the sulcus. With increasing mean prey concentration, the specific growth rates of T. helix on A. lusitanicum and A. tamarense increased continuously before saturating at prey concentrations of 336-620ngC mL-1 . The maximum specific growth rates (mixotrophic growth) of T. helix on A. lusitanicum and A. tamarense were 0.272 and 0.268d-1 , respectively, at 20°C under a 14:10 h light/dark cycle of 20μE m-2 s-1 illumination, while its growth rates (phototrophic growth) under the same light conditions without added prey were 0.152 and 0.094d-1 , respectively. The maximum ingestion rates of T. helix on A. lusitanicum and A. tamarense were 1.23 and 0.48ng C predator-1 d-1 , respectively. The results of the present study suggest that T. helix is a mixotrophic dinoflagellate that is able to feed on a diverse range of toxic species and, thus, its mixotrophic ability should be considered when studying red tide dynamics, food webs, and dinoflagellate evolution.


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