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ALGAE > Volume 30(1); 2015 > Article
ALGAE 2015;30(1): 35-47. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2015.30.1.035
Obligate mixotrophy of the pigmented dinoflagellate Polykrikos lebourae (Dinophyceae, Dinoflagellata)
Sunju Kim1, Jihae Yoon2 and Myung Gil Park2,*

1Research Institute for Basic Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Korea
2Department of Oceanography, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Korea
*Corresponding Author  Email: mpark@chonnam.ac.kr
The marine sand-dwelling dinoflagellate Polykrikos lebourae possesses obvious gold-brown pigmented plastids as well as taeniocyst-nematocyst complex structures. Despite of the presence of the visible plastids, previous attempts to establish this species in culture all failed and thus the unavailability of cultures of this species has posed a major obstacle to further detailed exploration of ecophysiology of the dinoflagellate. Here, we isolated P. lebourae from sandy sediment of an intertidal flat on Korean western coast, successfully established it in culture, and have been maintaining the stock culture over the past 3 years. Using this stock culture, we explored phagotrophy and potential prey resources of P. lebourae, growth and grazing responses of P. lebourae to different prey organisms, the effect of prey concentration on growth and grazing rates and gross growth efficiency (GGE) of P. lebourae when fed three different prey organisms, and the growth kinetics of P. lebourae under different light regimes. P. lebourae captured prey cells using a tow filament and then phagocytized them through the posterior end. The dinoflagellate was capable of ingesting a broad range of prey species varying in size, but not all prey species tested in this study supported its sustained growth. GGE of P. lebourae was extremely high at low prey concentration and moderate or low at high prey concentrations, indicating that P. lebourae grows heterotrophically at high prey concentrations but its growth seems to be more dependent on a certain growth factor or photosynthesis of plastids derived from the prey. In the presence of prey in excess, P. lebourae grew well at moderate light intensity of 40 μmol photons m-2 s-1, but did not grow at dim and high (10 or 120 μmol photons m-2 s-1) light intensities. Our results suggest that the benthic dinoflagellate P. lebourae is an obligate mixotroph, requiring both prey and light for sustained growth and survival.
Key words: benthic cryptophytes; gross growth efficiency; growth response; obligate mixotrophy; Polykrikos lebourae; sand-dwelling dinoflagellate

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