Physiological Responses of Mesodinium major to Irradiance, Prey Concentration and Prey Starvation

Kirstine Drumm*, Andreas Norlin, Miran Kim, Andreas Altenburger, Per Juel Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Ciliates within the Mesodinium rubrum/Mesodinium major species complex harbor chloroplasts and other cell organelles from specific cryptophyte species. Mesodinium major was recently described, and new studies indicate that blooms of M. major are just as common as blooms of M. rubrum. Despite this, the physiology of M. major has never been studied and compared to M. rubrum. In this study, growth, food uptake, chlorophyll a and photosynthesis were measured at six different irradiances, when fed the cryptophyte, Teleaulax amphioxeia. The results show that the light compensation point for growth of M. major was significantly higher than for M. rubrum. Inorganic carbon uptake via photosynthesis contributed by far most of total carbon uptake at most irradiances, similar to M. rubrum. Mesodinium major cells contain ~four times as many chloroplast as M. rubrum leading to up to ~four times higher rates of photosynthesis. The responses of M. major to prey starvation and refeeding were also studied. Mesodinium major was well adapted to prey starvation, and 51 d without prey did not lead to mortality. Mesodinium major quickly recovered from prey starvation when refed, due to high ingestion rates of > 150 prey/predator/d.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12854
JournalJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • C-fixation
  • Chl. a
  • growth
  • light response
  • sequestered chloroplasts
  • sequestered nucleus
  • Teleaulax


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