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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 419 - Feature article
Marine dinoflagellate Dinophysis norvegica infected with Amoebophrya sp. Orange: host's pigments; green: early-stage Amoebophrya revealed by FITC-labelled FISH probes. Photo and image: Paulo S. Salomon

Salomon PS, Stolte W


Predicting the population dynamics in Amoebophrya parasitoids and their dinoflagellate hosts using a mathematical model


Infection of marine dinoflagellates by protists of the genus Amoebophrya is a widespread phenomenon, and such infections invariably terminate with the death of the host. Under certain conditions Amoebophrya spp. can exert significant control on their host populations, suggesting a potential use as a bio-control agent against harmful dinoflagellates. Modelling allows the prediction of conditions where control of host populations is most likely to occur. Because Amoebophrya infections exhibit typical parasitoid behavior, Salomon & Stolte chose to explore the system as a Lotka-Volterra-like, predator–prey interaction. The model was used to predict the ‘operational window’ in a range of the host's carrying capacities, reflecting e.g. nutrient levels, at which the parasitoid is able to control its host.


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