Feeding and grazing impact by the bloom-forming euglenophyte Eutreptiella eupharyngea on marine eubacteria and cyanobacteria
Abstract The phototrophic euglenophyte Eutreptiella eupharyngea often causes blooms in the coastal waters of many countries, but its mode of nutrition has not been assessed. This species has previously been considered as exclusively auxotrophic. To explore whether E. eupharyngea is a mixotrophic species, the protoplasm of E. eupharyngea cells were examined using light, epifluorescence, and transmission electron microscopy after eubacteria, the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp., and diverse algal species were provided as potential prey. Furthermore, the ingestion rates of E. eupharyngea KR on eubacteria or Synechococcus sp. as a function of prey concentration were measured. In addition, grazing by natural populations of euglenophytes on natural populations of eubacteria in Masan Bay was investigated. This study is the first to report that E. eupharyngea is a mixotrophic species. Among the potential prey organisms offered, E. eupharyngea fed only on eubacteria and Synechococcus sp., and the maximum ingestion rates of these two organisms measured in the laboratory were 5.7 and 0.7 cells predator −1 h −1 , respectively. During the field experiments, the maximum ingestion rates and grazing impacts of euglenophytes, including E. eupharyngea , on natural populations of eubacteria were 11.8 cells predator −1 h −1 and 1.228 d −1 , respectively. Therefore, euglenophytes could potentially have a considerable grazing impact on marine bacterial populations.