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Different life cycle strategies of the dinoflagellates Fragilidium duplocampanaeforme and its prey Dinophysis acuminata may explain their different susceptibilities to the infection by the parasite Parvilucifera infectans

Lee, Bora, Park, Myung Gil
Harmful algae 2017 v.65 pp. 1-8
Dinophysis acuminata, allelopathy, direct contact, encystment, filtrates, food webs, hosts, inoculum, parasitism, parasitoids, periodicity, predator-prey relationships, vegetative cells, zoospores
Some marine dinoflagellates form ecdysal cyst (=temporary cysts) as part of their life cycle or under unfavorable growth conditions. Whether the dinoflagellates form ecdysal cysts or not may influence susceptibility to parasitism. In this study, parasite prevalence relative to inoculum size of the parasitoid Parvilucifera infectans zoospores for two dinoflagellate hosts (i.e., Fragilidium duplocampanaeforme and Dinophysis acuminata), which have different life cycle strategies, was examined. Further, susceptibility of cysts to parasitism, encystment signal, duration of encystments, and effects of induced encystment on diel periodicity, using ecdysal cyst-forming F. duplocampanaeforme were explored. The percent hosts infected by P. infectans plotted as a function of inoculum size showed a sharp increase to a maximum in D. acuminata, but a gradual linear rise in F. duplocampanaeforme: while the parasite prevalence in D. acuminata increased to a maximum of 78.8 (±2.4%) by a zoospore:host ratio of 20:1, it in F. duplocampanaeforme only reached 8.9 (±0.3%), even at a zoospore:host ratio of 120:1. In F. duplocampanaeforme, infections were observed only in the vegetative cells and not observed in ecdysal cysts. When exposed to live, frozen, and sonicated zoospores and zoospore filtrate, F. duplocampanaeforme formed ecdysal cysts only when exposed to live zoospores, suggesting that temporary cyst formation in the dinoflagellate resulted from direct contact with zoospores. When the Parvilucifera zoospores attacked and struggled to penetrate F. duplocampanaeforme through its flagellar pore, the Fragilidium cell shed all thecal plates, forming a ‘thecal cloud layer’, in which the zoospores were caught and immobilized and thus could not penetrate anymore. The duration (35±1.8h) of ecdysal cysts induced with addition of zoospores was significantly longer than that (15±0.8h) of normally formed cysts (i.e., without addition of zoospores), thereby resulting in delayed growth as well as influencing the pattern of diel periodicity. The results from this study suggest that in addition to the classical predator-prey interaction and allelopathic interaction, parasitism and its accompanying defense can make the food web dynamics much more complicated than previously thought.