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Ecological Traits of the Algae-Bearing Tetrahymena utriculariae (Ciliophora) from Traps of the Aquatic Carnivorous Plant Utricularia reflexa


Šimek, Karel; Pitsch, Gianna; Salcher, Michaela M; Sirová, Dagmara; Shabarova, Tanja; Adamec, Lubomír; Posch, Thomas (2017). Ecological Traits of the Algae-Bearing Tetrahymena utriculariae (Ciliophora) from Traps of the Aquatic Carnivorous Plant Utricularia reflexa. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 64(3):336-348.

Abstract

Trap fluid of aquatic carnivorous plants of the genus Utricularia hosts specific microbiomes consisting of commensal pro- and eukaryotes of largely unknown ecology. We examined the characteristics and dynamics of bacteria and the three dominant eukaryotes, i.e. the algae-bearing ciliate Tetrahymena utriculariae (Ciliophora), a green flagellate Euglena agilis (Euglenophyta), and the alga Scenedesmus alternans (Chlorophyta), associated with the traps of Utricularia reflexa. Our study focused on ecological traits and life strategies of the highly abundant ciliate whose biomass by far exceeds that of other eukaryotes and bacteria independent of the trap age. The ciliate was the only bacterivore in the traps, driving rapid turnover of bacterial standing stock. However, given the large size of the ciliate and the cell-specific uptake rates of bacteria we estimated that bacterivory alone would likely be insufficient to support its apparent rapid growth in traps. We suggest that mixotrophy based on algal symbionts contributes significantly to the diet and survival strategy of the ciliate in the extreme (anaerobic, low pH) trap-fluid environment. We propose a revised concept of major microbial interactions in the trap fluid where ciliate bacterivory plays a central role in regeneration of nutrients bound in rapidly growing bacterial biomass.

Abstract

Trap fluid of aquatic carnivorous plants of the genus Utricularia hosts specific microbiomes consisting of commensal pro- and eukaryotes of largely unknown ecology. We examined the characteristics and dynamics of bacteria and the three dominant eukaryotes, i.e. the algae-bearing ciliate Tetrahymena utriculariae (Ciliophora), a green flagellate Euglena agilis (Euglenophyta), and the alga Scenedesmus alternans (Chlorophyta), associated with the traps of Utricularia reflexa. Our study focused on ecological traits and life strategies of the highly abundant ciliate whose biomass by far exceeds that of other eukaryotes and bacteria independent of the trap age. The ciliate was the only bacterivore in the traps, driving rapid turnover of bacterial standing stock. However, given the large size of the ciliate and the cell-specific uptake rates of bacteria we estimated that bacterivory alone would likely be insufficient to support its apparent rapid growth in traps. We suggest that mixotrophy based on algal symbionts contributes significantly to the diet and survival strategy of the ciliate in the extreme (anaerobic, low pH) trap-fluid environment. We propose a revised concept of major microbial interactions in the trap fluid where ciliate bacterivory plays a central role in regeneration of nutrients bound in rapidly growing bacterial biomass.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:24 September 2017
Deposited On:09 Feb 2018 14:48
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:57
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1066-5234
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jeu.12368

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