Prey selectivity and the influence of prey carbon: nitrogen ratio on microflagellate grazing.

Eurgain H John, Keith Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated the influence of prey species and nutritional value, in terms of carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratio, on prey selection by the predatory microflagellate Paraphysomonas vestita. Experiments were conducted with two phytoplankton prey species of similar diameter to remove size-specific grazing effects. Live cells of both low and high C:N ratio (ranging from 4.8 to 14; N-replete and N-deplete, respectively) were offered to the predator either individually or in combination. By utilising analytical flow cytometry, we were able to enumerate the two prey species and, hence, study selective predation in the mixed-prey assemblage. In single prey experiments, the maximum observed ingestion rates were found to be higher, at all prey C:N ratios, when Isochrysis galbana was the prey item when compared to Pavlova lutheri, whilst maximum specific predator division rates were similar for both prey. Ingestion rates were influenced by prey nutrient status, higher values being observed with N-replete than N-deplete prey. When the two prey species were presented to P. vestita as a mixture, I.galbana was ingested more rapidly than P. lutheri, although ingestion was found to be suppressed when compared to when this was the sole prey species. Conversely, the presence of I. galbana did not influence the rate of ingestion of P, lutheri. P. vestita was, therefore, able to modify its rate of ingestion on the basis of prey type and prey C:N ratio and to discriminate between alternative prey of similar size in mixed-prey assemblages. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-111
Number of pages19
JournalJ EXP MAR BIOL ECOL
Issue number0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Ecology
  • OMNIVOROUS FLAGELLATE
  • DYNAMICS
  • MARINE
  • ISOCHRYSIS-GALBANA
  • PARAPHYSOMONAS-IMPERFORATA
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • CHAIN
  • NUTRIENT REGENERATION
  • MICROBIAL FOOD WEBS
  • AMINO-ACID
  • GROWTH-KINETICS

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