The life cycle of Phaeocystis (Prymnesiophycaea): evidence and hypotheses

Rousseau, V., Vaulot, D., Casotti, R., Cariou, V., Lenz, Jürgen, Gunkel, Judith and Baumann, M. (1994) The life cycle of Phaeocystis (Prymnesiophycaea): evidence and hypotheses Journal of Marine Systems, 5 (1). pp. 23-39. DOI 10.1016/0924-7963(94)90014-0.

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The present paper reviews the literature related to the life cycle of the prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis and its controlling factors and proposes novel hypotheses based on unpublished observations in culture and in the field. We chiefly refer to P. globosa Scherffel as most of the observations concern this species. P. globosa exhibits a complex alternation between several types of free-living cells (non-motile, flagellates, microzoopores and possibly macrozoospores) and colonies for which neither forms nor pathways have been completely identified and described. The different types of Phaeocystis cells were reappraised on the basis of existing microscopic descriptions complemented by unpublished flow cytometric investigations. This analysis revealed the existence of at least three different types of free-living cells identified on the basis of a combination of size, motility and ploidy characteristics: non-motile cells, flagellates and microzoospores. Their respective function within Phaeocystis life cycle, and in particular their involvement in colony formation is not completely understood. Observational evidence shows that Phaeocystis colonies are initiated at the early stage of their bloom each by one free-living cell. The mechanisms controlling this cellular transformation are still uncertain due to the lack of information on the overwintering Phaeocystis fomms and on the cell type responsible for colony induction. The existence of haploid microzoospores released from senescent colonies gives however some support to sexuality involvement at some stages of colony formation. Once colonies are formed, at least two mechanisms were identified as responsible of the spreading of colony form: colony multiplication by colonial division or budding and induction of new colony from colonial cells released in the external medium after colony disruption. The latter mechanism was clearly identified, involving at least two successive cell differentiations in the following sequence: motility development, subsequent flagella loss and settlement to a surface, mucus secretion and colony formation, colonial cell division and colony growth. Aggregate formation, cell motility development and subsequent emigration from the colonies, release of non-motile cells after colony lysis on the other hand, were identified as characteristics for termination of Phaeocystis colony development. These pathways were shown to occur similarly in natural environments. In the early stages of the bloom however, many recently-formed colonies were found on the setae of Chaetoceros spp, suggesting this diatom could play a key-rôle in Phaeocystis bloom inception. Analysis of the possible environmental factors regulating the transition between the different phases of the life cycle, suggested that nutrient status and requirement of a substrate for attachment of free-living cells would be essential for initiation of the colonial form. Physical constraints obviously would be important in determining colony shape and fragmentation although autogenic factors cannot be excluded. Some evidence exists that nutrients regulate colony division, while temperature and nutrient stress would stimulate cell emigration from the colonies.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: AWI
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/0924-7963(94)90014-0
ISSN: 0924-7963
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2018 09:18
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2018 09:18

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