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Dynamics of Amoebophrya parasites during recurrent blooms of the ichthyotoxic dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides in Korean coastal waters

Park, Bum Soo, Kim, Sunju, Kim, Joo-Hwan, Ho Kim, Jin, Han, Myung-Soo
Harmful algae 2019 v.84 pp. 119-126
Cochlodinium, coastal water, genes, internal transcribed spacers, microscopy, oligodeoxyribonucleotides, parasites, poisonous algae, population dynamics, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, ribosomal DNA, ribosomal RNA
During the bloom events of the harmful dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides in August and October, 2012, infections by two different Amoebophrya species were observed in Korean coastal waters. To investigate the dynamics of the two parasites and their relative impact on the host populations, a quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) method was applied to detect and quantify the parasites in the free-living and parasitic stages. Each specific primer set of the target species, Amoebophrya sp. 1 and sp. 2 was designed on the large subunit (LSU) and the first internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene, respectively. Dynamics of the two Amoebophrya species via qPCR assay showed distinct patterns during the C. polykrikoides bloom events. Amoebophrya sp. 1 showed peaks during both bloom events in August and October with relatively low copies (106 to 107 copies L−1), while Amoebophrya sp. 2 appeared only during the bloom event in October with very high copies (109 to 1010 copies L−1). Overall, the qPCR measurements for the dynamics of two Amoebophrya species in the parasitic stage (> 5 μm fractions) were consistent with parasite prevalence through microscopic observations. Amoebophrya sp. 1 infections were observed during both bloom events in August and October with relatively low parasite prevalence (0.1–1.5%), while Amoebophrya sp. 2 infections were detected only during the bloom event in October with high prevalence (up to 45%). Taken together, Amoebophrya sp. 1 may be a generalist and C. polykrikoides may not be its primary host, while Amoebophrya sp. 2 may be a specialist which can substantially impact host population dynamics.