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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 158:75-86 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps158075

Prey size selection, grazing and growth response of the small heterotrophic dinoflagellate Gymnodinium sp. and the ciliate Balanion comatum--a comparative study

Hans Henrik Jakobsen*, Per Juel Hansen

Marine Biological Laboratory, Strandpromenaden 5, DK-3000 Helsingør, Denmark

Prey selectivity, growth and feeding responses were studied in the ciliate Balanion comatum (17 µm) and the heterotrophic dinoflagellate Gymnodinium sp. (7 µm). Almost identical prey size spectra were found for the 2 organisms. Optimum prey size was 8 µm, while the lower and upper limits of prey capture were ~4 and 10 µm, respectively. Maximum growth and ingestion rates of B. comatum were slightly higher than those of Gymnodinium sp. Threshold prey concentration for growth of B. comatum and Gymnodinium sp. was 11 and 17 µg C l-1, respectively. At 15°C, both organisms needed to ingest approx. 1 to 2% h-1 of their cell volume in order to sustain basic metabolic activity. Maximum specific clearance was 2 to 3 times higher for the ciliate compared to the dinoflagellate. Gymnodinium sp. survived for a longer time than B.comatum when deprived of prey organisms. Gymnodinium sp. cells were not ingested by B. comatum, although they were of a size which is optimal for B.comatum.

Balanion comatum · Gymnodinium sp. · Prey size spectra · Growth · Grazing · Swimming behavior

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