Parasitism of <i>Dinophysis norvegica</i> by <i>Amoebophrya</i> sp. in the Baltic Sea

TitleParasitism of Dinophysis norvegica by Amoebophrya sp. in the Baltic Sea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSalomon, PS, Janson, S, Granéli, E
JournalAquatic Microbial Ecology
KeywordsAmoebophrya, Baltic Sea, dinoflagellates, Dinophysis norvegica, Interspecific interactions, Parasitism, phytoplankton

The temporal and vertical distribution of the infection of the dinoflagellate Dinophysis norvegica by the endoparasite Amoebophrya sp. was investigated at a fixed sampling location in the Baltic Sea during 2000 and 2001. Infected hosts were detected by epifluorescence microscopy after DAPI staining. The maximum depth-averaged parasite prevalence was 2.3% in July 2000 and 1.8% in August 2001. The percentage of infected hosts was usually higher close to the thermocline than at the surface. The highest parasite prevalence at a specific depth (4.8%) was found at 20 m in August 2001. No correlation was observed between parasite prevalence and host abundance or dissolved nutrient (N and P) concentrations, neither for depth-averaged nor discrete depth measurements. However, temperature seemed to be an important factor influencing infection of D. norvegica by Amoebophrya sp., with infected host cells observed only above 12°C. Amoebophrya sp. was only sporadically observed inside other dinoflagellate species, indicating specificity towards D. norvegica. The seasonal pattern of infection suggests the existence of a dormancy stage of the parasite dinospores. The low prevalence observed during this study indicates that parasitism by Amoebophrya sp. is not a relevant loss factor for D. norvegica in the Baltic Sea.