Intraspecific selectivity, compensatory feeding and flexible homeostasis in the phagotrophic flagellate Oxyrrhis marina: Three ways to handle food quality fluctuations

Cédric Léo Meunier, Florian M. Hantzsche, Alessandra Ö Cunha-Dupont, Julia Haafke, Bettina Oppermann, Arne M. Malzahn, Maarten Boersma

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The phagotrophic flagellate Oxyrrhis marina shows a strong stoichiometric plasticity when fed differently grown Rhodomonas salina. We tested whether differently pre-conditioned O. marina displayed selective feeding behaviour from a mixture of nitrogen and phosphorus depleted R. salina. We observed selective feeding of O. marina, always selecting phosphorus rich R. salina independent of the pre-conditioning of the protists. In a second experiment, O. marina was again pre-conditioned either with nitrogen- or phosphorus-depleted R. salina and was refed with either of the differently limited R. salina in single food treatments (not in a mixture). The phagotrophic flagellate displayed compensatory feeding which means that O. marina feed more on the food source which they were not given before. Due to its stoichiometric plasticity, O. marina might handle bad quality food by following the stoichiometry of its prey and additionally by active selective feeding towards P-rich algae to enhance growth. Post-ingestion selection might as well be an important feature which means that ingested elements in excess are quickly excreted and scarce elements are ingested through accelerated food uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012



  • FlowCAM
  • Food selection
  • Nutrient limitation
  • Stoichiometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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