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Grazing impact of two small heterotrophic flagellates on Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus

TitleGrazing impact of two small heterotrophic flagellates on Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsGuillou L, Jacquet S, Chrétiennot-Dinet M.-J., Vaulot D
JournalAquatic Microbial Ecology
Keywords2001, Algal Class, Equatorial Pacific, Growth Rates, Laboratory Cultures, Marine, Nanoplankton, PICODIV, picoplankton, Prey, rcc, sbr_phyto, Size, Sp Nov

In open oceanic waters, phytoplankton biomass is dominated by organisms below 2 to 3 mum in size (pico- and small nanophytoplankton). The cell concentration of these populations is very stable in time and space as a consequence of nutrient limitation and strong grazing pressure, Although the identity of the organisms that directly graze on picoplankton is largely unknown, they are thought to be very small, i.e. m, Here, we analyze the grazing impact of 2 small flagellates, Symbiomonas scintillans and Picophagus flagellatus, upon 2 oceanic cyanobacteria, Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. S. scintillans does not feed on the 2 cyanobacteria. In contrast, P. flagellatus appears as an active predator capable of drastically reducing prey concentrations. The flagellate displays a substantial division rate of the order of 2 doublings d(-1) when fed on Prochlorococcus cells, but no significant growth is recorded when Synechococcus is used as prey. As the majority (> 80%) of P. flagellatus cells can pass throughout a 2 mum filter, the impact of such tiny predators should be taken into consideration during field experiments that rely on size fractionation to separate grazers from prey.