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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 527:73-85 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11219

Effects of diet nutritional quality on the growth and grazing of Noctiluca scintillans

Shuwen Zhang1, Hongbin Liu1,*, Bingzhang Chen2, Chih-Jung Wu1

1Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong SAR
2State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Oceanography and Environmental Science, Xiamen University, Xiamen, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Noctiluca scintillans is a cosmopolitan red tide-forming heterotrophic dinoflagellate which can feed on a variety of algae. In this study, we examined the effects of diet nutritional quality on its ingestion and reproduction. Functional and numerical response experiments were conducted using 3 types of algae: a diatom (Thalassiosira weissflogii), a chlorophyte (Platymonas helgolandica) and a dinoflagellate (Prorocentrum dentatum) that were grown under nitrogen- (N‑) and phosphorus- (P-) replete, N-depleted and P-depleted conditions. Ingestion and growth rates of N. scintillans were fitted using Type II and modified Type II models, respectively. N. scintillans generally exhibited higher maximum ingestion rate under nutrient-deficient conditions than when fed on N- and P-sufficient prey, presumably in order to maximize its nutrient pool and meet growth requirements. All phytoplankton cultures, except P-deficient T. weissflogii, supported the growth of N. scintillans. However, nutrient deficiency, especially P‑deficient prey, yielded lower growth rates of N. scintillans than their nutrient-sufficient counterparts. No optimum curve was obtained for P-deficient T. weissflogii, which may become toxic under P limitation. Based on the hyperbolic regression models simulated for N. scintillans growth rate using different resources’ nutritional contents as variables, P limitation appears to be the major constraint affecting N. scintillans reproduction and survival under nutrient deficiency. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, e.g. α-linolenic acid (18:3ω3, ALA) and eicosapentaneoic acid (20:5ω3, EPA), are also important in determining food quality for N. scintillans based on their high correlation with N. scintillans growth rate.


KEY WORDS: Noctiluca scintillans · Diet nutritional quality · Elemental composition · PUFAs · Functional response · Numerical response


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Cite this article as: Zhang S, Liu H, Chen B, Wu CJ (2015) Effects of diet nutritional quality on the growth and grazing of Noctiluca scintillans. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 527:73-85. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11219

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