AME 54:35-44 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/ame01253

Significance of swimming and feeding currents for nutrient uptake in osmotrophic and interception-feeding flagellates

V. J. Langlois1,3,*, A. Andersen1, T. Bohr1, A.W. Visser2, T. Kiørboe2

1Department of Physics and Center for Fluid Dynamics, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
2National Institute for Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Kavalergården 6, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
3Present address: Laboratoire de Sciences de la Terre, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 –ENS Lyon– C.N.R.S.,
2 rue Raphaël Dubois, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France

ABSTRACT: We introduce 2 simple models for the flow generated by a self-propelled flagellate: a sphere propelled by a cylindrical flagellum and one propelled by an external point force. We use these models to examine the role of advection in enhancing feeding rates in 3 situations: (1) osmotroph feeding on dissolved molecules, (2) interception feeding on non-motile prey particles, and (3) interception feeding on motile prey (such as bacteria). We show that the Sherwood number is close to unity for osmotrophic flagellates, as suggested by most previous models. However, a more correct representation of the flow field than that predicted by a naive sinking sphere model leads to substantially higher clearance rates for interception-feeding flagellates. We find that a short flagellum is favourable for interception feeding, but at the cost of an increase in the drag on the body of the swimming unicell. We finally demonstrate that prey motility significantly enhances prey encounter rates in interception-feeding flagellates and is, in fact, often much more important for food acquisition than the feeding current.


KEY WORDS: Flagellates · Nutrient uptake · Interception feeders · Motile prey


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Cite this article as: Langlois VJ, Andersen A, Bohr T, Visser A, Kiørboe T (2009) Significance of swimming and feeding currents for nutrient uptake in osmotrophic and interception-feeding flagellates. Aquat Microb Ecol 54:35-44

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