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AB 30:119-132 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00746

Phytodetrital quality (C:N ratio) and temperature changes affect C and N cycling of the intertidal mixotrophic foraminifer Haynesina germanica

J. Wukovits1,*, A. J. Enge1, P. Bukenberger1, W. Wanek2, M. Watzka, P. Heinz1

1Department of Palaeontology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The combination of lower diet quality and increased metabolic rates is assumed to cause cascading effects on organismic C cycling. Future changes in CO2 levels or terrestrial nutrient discharges in marine ecosystems can lead to increased phytoplankton C:N ratios relative to consumer C:N ratios, lowering the quality of the food source. In this study, we compared the single and interactive effects of diet quality and temperature on the feeding behavior and C and N intake and release of a common and abundant intertidal mixotrophic protist, the foraminifer Haynesina germanica. Two batches of artificially produced and dual isotope-labeled (13C/15N) chlorophyte detritus with different C:N ratios (5.6 and 7.1) were fed to the foraminifer at 3 different temperatures (15, 20, 25°C). We observed a strong interactive effect of temperature and diet. A very strong increase in feeding rates was observed at 20°C for the low-quality food source. Respiration rates of carbon derived from the low-quality diet (C:N ratio of 7.1) were lower than those of the high-quality diets and increased at 25°C. This indicates that a high C content of the diet might be of advantage in calcifying mixotrophs, since respired excess C could be advantageous for test calcification. Additionally, respired excess C could be a useful resource of CO2 for kleptoplast photosynthesis and functionality in the mixotrophic lifestyle of H. germanica. Further, the observed effects of diet and temperature could impact nutrient fluxes in the habitat of H. germanica, possibly leading to food-web shifts in the future.


KEY WORDS: Benthic foraminifera · Food intake and turnover · Carbon and nitrogen stoichiometry · Haynesina germanica


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Cite this article as: Wukovits J, Enge AJ, Bukenberger P, Wanek W, Watzka M, Heinz P (2021) Phytodetrital quality (C:N ratio) and temperature changes affect C and N cycling of the intertidal mixotrophic foraminifer Haynesina germanica. Aquat Biol 30:119-132. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00746

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