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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 447:49-54 (2012)  -  DOI:

Predator-enhanced diel vertical migration in a planktonic dinoflagellate

Stephen M. Bollens*, Joel A. Quenette, Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens

School of the Environment, Washington State University, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver, Washington 98686, USA

ABSTRACT: Diel vertical migration (DVM) is a common and conspicuous behavior amongst planktonic organisms. In the case of dinoflagellates, both light and nutrients have been shown to regulate DVM, although the role of predators (grazers) has been understudied. Here we report the results of an experimental study using a system of ‘plankton mini-towers’ to examine the DVM behavior of the marine planktonic dinoflagellate Akashiwo sanguinea. A. sanguinea undertook a pronounced reverse DVM (down during the night, up during the day) in both the absence and presence of copepod predators (Acartia spp.). In the presence of copepods, however, the amplitude of the DVM was enhanced, providing the dinoflagellate with greater spatial separation from its ‘normally’ migrating predator. We briefly discuss the causes (cues) and ecological consequences of predator-enhanced DVM in dinoflagellates.

KEY WORDS: Dinoflagellate · Vertical distribution · Diel vertical migration · Nutrients · Light · Predator avoidance

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Cite this article as: Bollens SM, Quenette JA, Rollwagen-Bollens G (2012) Predator-enhanced diel vertical migration in a planktonic dinoflagellate. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 447:49-54.

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