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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 189:27-33 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps189027

Biomass of thraustochytrid protoctists in coastal water

Hiroyuki Kimura, Tatsuhiro Fukuba, Takeshi Naganuma*

School of Biosphere Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-4-4 Kagamiyama, Higashi-hiroshima 739-8528, Japan
*Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Abundance, cellular contents of carbon and nitrogen, and C/N ratio of planktonic thraustochytrids in the Seto Inland Sea and the coastal Hyuga-nada, Japan, were determined. Thraustochytrid cells were stained with acriflavine and counted directly by epifluorescence microscopy. Thraustochytrids were found in the water column at a density of 2.5 x 103 to 4.5 x 104 cells l-1, with an overall average of 1.6 x 104 cells l-1. In order to estimate the impact of thraustochytrid biomass on the coastal plankton community, cellular carbon and nitrogen contents of a cultured thraustochytrid were determined. The carbon and nitrogen for 10 µm cell contents were estimated to be 1.65 x 10-4 µg C cell-1 and 1.58 x 10-5 µg N cell-1, respectively. The cellular C/N ratio of 10.4 was higher than that known for pelagic bacteria. The estimated population biomass of thraustochytrids varied from 0.41 to 7.44 µg C l-1, with an overall average of 2.60 µg C l-1; and 0.039 to 0.71 µg N l-1, with an overall average of 0.23 µg N l-1. The thraustochytrid carbon biomass corresponded to about 3.4 to 29% of total planktonic decomposers (bacteria and thraustochytrids). It is suggested that the contribution of thraustochytrids to the microbial food chain and carbon cycling through organic degradation and production may not be negligible.

KEY WORDS: Thraustochytrid · Fungoid protoctista · Abundance · Biomass · C/N ratio

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