AME - Vol. 67 No. 3 - Feature article

Strombidium rassoulzadegani fed Tetraselmis chui (top left), Rhodomonas lens for 15 h (top right), R. lens for 72 h (bottom left), and after 96 h of starvation (bottom right). Photos: Donald M. Schoener

Schoener DM, McManus GB


Plastid retention, use, and replacement in a kleptoplastidic ciliate


Kleptoplastidic organisms do not make their own plastids but ‘steal’ them from their algal prey, thereby attaining photosynthetic ability. We fed the kleptoplastidic ciliate Strombidium rassoulzadegani with 2 algae from different evolutionary lineages (chlorophyte and cryptophyte), and examined selection, retention and turnover of plastids. We also measured the growth, grazing and growth efficiency of the ciliate on the 2 diets. The ciliate grazed both algae equally, but it showed a preference for retaining chlorophyte plastids. It had very high growth efficiencies at low concentrations of the chlorophyte, but growth efficiencies that were similar to those of heterotrophic ciliates on the cryptophyte.


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