Dynamic stoichiometric response to food quality fluctuations in the heterotrophic dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina

Cédric Léo Meunier, Julia Haafke, Bettina Oppermann, Maarten Boersma, Arne Michael Malzahn

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18 Citations (Scopus)


With respect to nutrients, plants are rather non-homoeostatic while most metazoans have much more confined ranges of nutrient ratios. It was recently highlighted that the homoeostatic ability of microzooplankters lies in between these two extremes. Nevertheless, we know very little on the dynamics of stoichiometric changes. Hence, we investigated how the stoichiometry of the heterotrophic dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina is affected (1) during a starvation period and (2) when fed nutrient deplete Rhodomonas salina after having been pre-conditioned on nutrient replete algae and vice versa. We observed that the dinoflagellate was able to maintain its N:P ratio constant over 78 h of starvation. We inferred that under starvation, nitrogen-limited O. marina mainly used fat as energy source while nitrogen-rich individuals also used proteins as fuel in cellular respiration. Further, we showed that O. marina presents resistance to nutrient limitation, with stronger regulation against P-limitation than against N-limitation. This resilience in microzooplankton stoichiometry following food quality stress would have great implications for both top-down (nutrient remineralisation) and bottom-up controls (quality as food).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2241-2248
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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