26th Apr, 2012

Spring bloom infected by parasite

This week’s L4 sample (10 micron vertical net haul) confirmed the spring bloom is still going strong and is dominated, almost exclusively, by the chain-forming diatom Guinardia delicatula.

"Guinardia delicatula"

Upon closer inspection many cells were infected by a parasitic nanoflagellate called Pirsonia which can also ‘attack’ other diatom species. According to the literature this little parasite might be capable of influencing the succession of phytoplankton communities. It will be interesting to see if Guinardia delicatula is still dominant at L4 next week – I suspect not!
Parasitic nanoflagellate, Pirsonia

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