AME 53:83-98 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01229

Selective feeding behaviour of key free-living protists: avenues for continued study

David J. S. Montagnes1,*, Ana B. Barbosa2, Jens Boenigk3, Keith Davidson4, Klaus Jürgens5, Miroslav Macek6,9, Jacqueline D. Parry7, Emily C. Roberts8, Karel Simek9

1School of Biological Sciences, Biosciences Building, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK
2CIMA, Center for Marine and Environmental Research, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
3Institute for Limnology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Mondseestr. 9, 5310 Mondsee, Austria
4Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK
5Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Department of Biological Oceanography, Seest. 15, 18119 Rostock-Warnemünde, Germany
6National Autonomous University of Mexico, FES Iztacala, Department of Tropical Limnology, Av. de los Barrios 1,
54090 Tlalnepantla, Edo. México, Mexico
7Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, School of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
8Biological Sciences, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
9Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Institute of Hydrobiology, Na Sádkách 7,
37005 Ceské Budéjovice, Czech Republic

ABSTRACT: Phagotrophic protists are diverse and abundant in aquatic and terrestrial environments, making them fundamental to the transfer of matter/energy within their respective food webs. Recognising their grazing impact is essential to evaluate the role of protists in ecosystems, and this includes appreciating prey selectivity. Efforts have been made by groups and individuals to understand selective grazing behaviour by protists: many approaches and perspectives have been pursued, not all of which are compatible. This article, which is not a review, is the product of our discourse on this subject at the SAME 10 meeting. It is the work of individuals, assembled for their breadth of backgrounds, approaches, views, and expertise. Firstly, to communicate ideas and approaches, we develop a framework for selective feeding processes and suggest 6 steps: searching, contact, capture, processing, ingestion, digestion. We then separate study approaches into 2 categories: (1) those examining whole organisms at the community, population, and individual levels, and (2) those examining physiology and molecular attributes. Finally, we explore general problems associated with the field of protistan selective feeding (e.g. linking food selection into food webs and modeling). We do not present all views on any one topic, nor do we cover all topics; instead, we offer opinions and suggest avenues for continued study. Overall, this paper should stimulate further discourse on the subject and provide a roadmap for the future.


KEY WORDS: Amoeba · Ciliate · Flagellate · Grazing · Ingestion · Phagotrophic · Protozoa


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Cite this article as: Montagnes DJS, Barbosa AB, Boenigk J, Davidson K and others (2008) Selective feeding behaviour of key free-living protists: avenues for continued study. Aquat Microb Ecol 53:83-98. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01229

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