Temporal dynamics and growth of Actinophrys sol (Sarcodina: Heliozoa), the top predator in an extremely acidic lake

Elanor M Bell, G Weithoff, U Gaedke

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Abstract

1. The in situ abundance, biomass and mean cell volume of Actinophrys sol (Sarcodina: Heliozoa), the top predator in an extremely acidic German mining lake (Lake 111; pH 2.65), were determined over three consecutive years (spring to autumn, 2001-03). 2. Actinophrys sol exhibited pronounced temporal and vertical patterns in abundance, biomass and mean cell volume. Increasing from very low spring densities, maxima in abundance and biomass were observed in late June/early July and September. The highest mean abundance recorded during the study was 7 x 10(3) Heliozoa L-1. Heliozoan abundance and biomass were higher in the epilimnion than in the hypolimnion. Actinophrys sol cells from this acidic lake were smaller than individuals of the same species found in other aquatic systems. 3. We determined the growth rate of A. sol using all potential prey items available in, and isolated and cultured from, Lake 111. Prey items included: single-celled and filamentous bacteria of unknown taxonomic affinity, the mixotrophic flagellates Chlamydomonas acidophila and Ochromonas sp., the ciliate Oxytricha sp. and the rotifers Elosa worallii and Cephalodella hoodi. Actinophrys sol fed over a wide-size spectrum from bacteria to metazoans. Positive growth was not supported by all naturally available prey. Actinophrys sol neither increased in cell number (k) nor biomass (k(b)) when starved, with low concentrations of single-celled bacteria or with the alga Ochromonas sp. Positive growth was achieved with single-celled bacteria (k = 0.22 +/- 0.02 d(-1); k(b) = -0.06 +/- 0.02 d(-1)) and filamentous bacteria (k = 0.52 +/- <0.01 d(-1); k(b) = 0.66 d(-1)) at concentrations greater than observed in situ, and the alga C. acidophila (up to k = 0.43 +/- 0.03 d(-1); k(b) = 0.44 +/- 0.04 d(-1)), the ciliate Oxytricha sp. (k = 0.34 +/- 0.01 d(-1)) and in mixed cultures containing rotifers and C. acidophila (k = 0.23 +/- 0.02-0.32 +/- 0.02 d(-1); maximum k(b) = 0.42 +/- 0.05 d(-1)). The individual- and biomass-based growth of A. sol was highest when filamentous bacteria were provided. 4. Existing quantitative carbon flux models for the Lake 111 food web can be updated in light of our results. Actinophrys sol are omnivorous predators supported by a mixed diet of filamentous bacteria and C. acidophila in the epilimnion. Heliozoa are important components in the planktonic food webs of 'extreme' environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1161
Number of pages13
JournalFRESHWATER BIOL
Volume51
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Keywords

  • SEASONAL DYNAMICS
  • MIXOTROPHIC CHRYSOPHYTE
  • MINING LAKES
  • FOOD CAPTURE
  • PLANKTON DYNAMICS
  • MARITIME ANTARCTIC LAKE
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • BACTERIA
  • LIGHT-MICROSCOPY
  • POTERIOOCHROMONAS-MALHAMENSIS
  • PINACIOPHORA

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