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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 234372, 4 pages
Research Article

Induced Bacteriovory in a Declining Culture of the Mixotrophic Dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum (Pavillard) Schiller

NOAA, NMFS, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 212 Rogers Avenue, Milford, CT 06460, USA

Received 25 June 2013; Accepted 22 October 2013

Academic Editor: Pavlos Kassomenos

Copyright © 2013 Gary H. Wikfors and Emilie Fernandez. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacteriovory was reported previously in the dinoflagellate, Prorocentrum minimum, but it was unclear if this is constitutive or induced under certain conditions. We tested the hypothesis that phosphate deficiency, or cessation of autotrophic growth for other reasons, would induce bacteriovory in a culture of P. minimum that is harmful to shellfish. Phosphate-starved cells did not ingest fluorescently labeled bacteria and died. In stationary-phase, full-enrichment cultures, more than half of viable P. minimum cells showed declines in chlorophyll that was coincident with incorporation of fluorescently labeled bacteria. Declining populations of P. minimum increase in toxicity to suspension-feeding shellfish; this suggests a possible association between bacteriovory and toxicity.