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Mixotrophy in the bloom-forming genus Phaeocystis and other haptophytes
Koppelle, S.; López-Escardó, D.; Brussaard, C.P.D.; Huisman, J.; Philippart, C.J.M.; Massana, R.; Wilken, S. (2022). Mixotrophy in the bloom-forming genus Phaeocystis and other haptophytes. Harmful Algae 117: 102292. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2022.102292
In: Harmful Algae. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam; Shannon; Paris. ISSN 1568-9883; e-ISSN 1878-1470, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Phaeocystis globosa; Mixotrophy; Bacterivory; Confocal microscopy; Haptophyte

Auteurs  Top 
  • Koppelle, S.
  • López-Escardó, D.
  • Brussaard, C.P.D., meer
  • Huisman, J.
  • Philippart, C.J.M., meer
  • Massana, R.
  • Wilken, S.

Abstract
    Phaeocystis is a globally widespread marine phytoplankton genus, best known for its colony-forming species that can form large blooms and odorous foam during bloom decline. In the North Sea, Phaeocystis globosa typically becomes abundant towards the end of the spring bloom, when nutrients are depleted and the share of mixotrophic protists increases. Although mixotrophy is widespread across the eukaryotic tree of life and is also found amongst haptophytes, a mixotrophic nutrition has not yet beendemonstrated in Phaeocystis. Here, we sampled two consecutive Phaeocystis globosa spring blooms in the coastal North Sea. In both years, bacterial cells were observed inside 0.6 – 2% of P. globosa cells using double CARD-FISH hybridizations in combination with laser scanning confocal microscopy. Incubation experiments manipulating light and nutrient availability showed a trend towards higher occurrence of intracellular bacteria under P-deplete conditions. Based on counts of bacteria inside P. globosa cells in combination with theoretical values of prey digestion times, maximum ingestion rates of up to 0.08 bacteria cell−1 h−1 were estimated. In addition, a gene-based predictive model was applied to the transcriptome assemblies of seven Phaeocystis strains and 24 other haptophytes to assess their trophic mode. This model predicted a phago-mixotrophic feeding strategy in several (but not all) strains of P. globosa, P. antarctica and other haptophytes that were previously assumed to be autotrophic. The observation of bacterial cells inside P. globosa and the gene-based model predictions strongly suggest that the phago-mixotrophic feeding strategy is widespread among members of the Phaeocystis genus and other haptophytes, and might contribute to their remarkable success to form nuisance blooms under nutrient-limiting conditions.

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