Planktonic Food Web: Feeding, Growth, and Trophic Interactions

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2024 | Viewed by 8475

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Environment and Ecology, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan
Interests: aquatic microbial ecology; trophic interactions between picoplankton and nanoplankton; mixotrophic nanoflagellates; viral ecology; response of microbes to environmental changes
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Special Issue Information

Plankton food web consists of two major paths, the classical grazing food chain and microbial loop. The amount of carbon flux of microbial and classical food webs is an important determinant of the complexity of the food web structure in aquatic environments. Highly productive environments are commonly described as the microphytoplankton–mesozooplankton food chain. Typically, the dominant producers in oligotrophic open-ocean areas are picophytoplankton (0.2–2 μm). However, there is increasing evidence that the microbial food web is a key component feature not only of oligotrophic, but also eutrophic areas. Thus, a challenging and central question that has interested ecologists for decades is how to identify the key processes influencing the dynamics of the plankton food web, and these processes have important implications in understanding the role of these planktons in the fate of carbon in aquatic environments. For this Special Issue on “Planktonic Food Web: Feeding, Growth, and Trophic Interactions”, we invite submissions that address all aspects of planktonic food web in marine and freshwater habitats and provide a platform to highlight new research that adds to our knowledge of aquatic microbiology, especially as it relates to: i) the dynamics, distribution, growth, grazing, and diversity of zooplankton, phytoplankton, and microbes in the microbial loop; ii) microbes as trophic links in food webs and role of microbes on biogeochemical processes; and iii) the effects of environmental variation (e.g., temperature) on planktonic food web. We look forward to reading your submissions.

Prof. Dr. An Yi Tsai
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • zooplankton
  • phytoplankton
  • prokaryotes
  • protists
  • microbial loop
  • trophic interactions
  • growth
  • grazing

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 4600 KiB  
Article
Simultaneous Study of the Growth and Grazing Mortality Rates of Microbial Food Web Components in a Mediterranean Coastal Lagoon
by David Pecqueur, Justine Courboulès, Cécile Roques, Sébastien Mas, Romain Pete, Francesca Vidussi and Behzad Mostajir
Diversity 2022, 14(3), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14030186 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1992
Abstract
The abundances of 17 cytometric groups encompassing four groups of bacteria, three groups of cyanobacteria, six groups of eukaryotic picophytoplankton (<2–3 µm), and four groups of small eukaryotic nanophytoplankton (between 3 and 6 µm) were studied in the Thau Lagoon across different seasonal [...] Read more.
The abundances of 17 cytometric groups encompassing four groups of bacteria, three groups of cyanobacteria, six groups of eukaryotic picophytoplankton (<2–3 µm), and four groups of small eukaryotic nanophytoplankton (between 3 and 6 µm) were studied in the Thau Lagoon across different seasonal conditions. Among them, the growth (µ) and mortality rates due to grazing (g) of 12 groups of bacteria, cyanobacteria, and eukaryotic pico- and nanophytoplankton were simultaneously studied in the Thau Lagoon via four dilution experiments across different seasonal conditions. The abundances of heterotrophic flagellates and ciliates and their potential predators were studied and linked to prey mortality. Bacteria were more active than phytoplankton and displayed the highest growth and grazing mortality rates. Most studied groups had g:µ ratios > 1, suggesting that predators efficiently grazed and transferred these preys. Surprisingly, the observed variations in predator abundance across seasons did not necessarily correspond with changes in grazing pressure. The significant positive relationship found between water temperature and bacterial grazing mortality rates and the reverse trend observed for larger eukaryotic prey suggested that warmer water increases small prokaryote transfer to higher trophic levels but disadvantages larger eukaryotic prey transfer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planktonic Food Web: Feeding, Growth, and Trophic Interactions)
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15 pages, 2412 KiB  
Article
Annual Cycle of the Synechococcus spp. and Picoeukaryotic Growth and Loss Rates in a Subtropical Coastal Ecosystem
by Pei-Chi Ho, Gwo-Ching Gong, Vladimir Mukhanov, Zhi-Yu Zhu and An-Yi Tsai
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010049 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1650
Abstract
Seasonal variations in the picophytoplankton community structure (Synechococcus spp. and picoeukaryotes) were studied by flow cytometry in the coastal ecosystem of the subtropical western Pacific from October 2019 to September 2020. Synechococcus spp. was dominant in abundance during the study period, with [...] Read more.
Seasonal variations in the picophytoplankton community structure (Synechococcus spp. and picoeukaryotes) were studied by flow cytometry in the coastal ecosystem of the subtropical western Pacific from October 2019 to September 2020. Synechococcus spp. was dominant in abundance during the study period, with its density ranging from 0.05 to 5.6 × 104 cells mL−1; its maximum occurred in July 2020. Picoeukaryotes were less abundant, with their density ranging from 0.2 to 13.6 × 103 cells mL−1. Their highest abundance was recorded in January 2020. The growth rates of Synechococcus spp. and picoeukaryotes ranged from −0.39 to 1.42 d−1 and 0.38 to 2.46 d−1, respectively, throughout the study period. Overall, the growth rate of the picoeukaryotes was significantly higher than that of Synechococcus spp. It is interesting to note that the grazing mortality of Synechococcus spp. and picoeukaryotes during the warmer period (April to September) was relatively low. Based on this study, we suggest that mixotrophic nanoflagellates lowered their feeding activity that obtained nutrients from prey and instead used additional nutrients during the incubation experiments. Our study demonstrated that a shift in the picophytoplankton community composition and grazing activity of predacious nanoflagellates in cold and warm periods can impact on the seasonal dynamics of the microbial food web. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planktonic Food Web: Feeding, Growth, and Trophic Interactions)
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9 pages, 4544 KiB  
Article
Diel Variation of Viral Production in a Coastal Subtropical Marine System
by Pei-Chi Ho, Gwo-Ching Gong, Chih-Hao Hsieh, Patrichka Wei-Yi Chen and An-Yi Tsai
Diversity 2021, 13(9), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13090426 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1586
Abstract
Viral production (VP) and bacterial mortality by viral lysis critically influence the production and mortality of aquatic bacteria. Although bacterial production, mortality by viral lysis, and viral density have been found to exhibit diel variations, the diel change in viral production has rarely [...] Read more.
Viral production (VP) and bacterial mortality by viral lysis critically influence the production and mortality of aquatic bacteria. Although bacterial production, mortality by viral lysis, and viral density have been found to exhibit diel variations, the diel change in viral production has rarely been investigated. In this study, we conducted two diel dilution incubation experiments in a semi-enclosed, nutrient-rich coastal region in northeastern Taiwan to estimate the diel viral production and the mortality by viral lysis. We also compared two methods (linear regression between viral density and time versus arithmetic mean of VP during incubation) of estimating viral production. We found that viral production estimated by linear regression and bacterial mortality by viral lysis were higher during the daytime than during the nighttime. A possible explanation for the high viral production at daytime is that the bacterial community was composed of cell types with higher burst sizes at daytime. We further argued that the classical linear regression method can be used only when viral density significantly linearly increases with time, which does not always occur in dilution incubations. This study offered observations of diel variation in viral dynamics and discussed the methods estimating viral production in a marine environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planktonic Food Web: Feeding, Growth, and Trophic Interactions)
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13 pages, 1590 KiB  
Article
Finding Approaches to Exploring the Environmental Factors That Influence Copepod-Induced Trophic Cascades in the East China Sea
by Tz-Chian Chen, Pei-Chi Ho, Gwo-Ching Gong, An-Yi Tsai and Chih-hao Hsieh
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070299 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2005
Abstract
Copepods have been known to be able to cause an increase in phytoplankton through trophic cascades, as copepods consume heterotrophic protists that feed on phytoplankton. However, how the intensity of copepod-induced trophic cascades varies with environmental conditions remains elusive. We hypothesized that a [...] Read more.
Copepods have been known to be able to cause an increase in phytoplankton through trophic cascades, as copepods consume heterotrophic protists that feed on phytoplankton. However, how the intensity of copepod-induced trophic cascades varies with environmental conditions remains elusive. We hypothesized that a higher proportion of large phytoplankton in the phytoplankton size distribution, a higher stoichiometric quality of phytoplankton, and a higher temperature could mitigate the intensity of a trophic cascade through increasing direct grazing on phytoplankton by copepods. To explore this issue, we quantified the intensity of a trophic cascade as the difference in phytoplankton concentration reduction by grazing using in situ incubations with and without copepods in the East China Sea. We then investigated the relationship between the intensity of trophic cascades versus the slope of the normalized biomass size spectrum (NBSS) of the phytoplankton community, the C:N ratio of particulate organic matter (POM), and temperature. We found that the intensity of trophic cascades weakly decreased with the NBSS slope and increased with temperature; however, both relationships were not statistically significant. We did not find a clear relationship between the strength of the trophic cascades and the C:N ratio of POM. Our results do not support the hypothesis that the proportion of large phytoplankton, the stoichiometric quality of phytoplankton, and the temperature affect trophic cascades. Instead, we suggest that other critical factors, such as protist abundance, play a role in affecting trophic cascades in the plankton food web in the East China Sea. We further propose some issues which should be addressed when conducting in situ shipboard incubation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planktonic Food Web: Feeding, Growth, and Trophic Interactions)
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