The need to account for cell biology in characterizing predatory mixotrophs in aquatic environments.

Wilken, Susanne , Yung, Charmaine C. M., Hamilton, Maria, Hoadley, Kenneth, Nzongo, Juliana, Eckmann, Charlotte, Corrochano-Luque, Maria, Poirier, Camille and Worden, Alexandra Z. (2019) The need to account for cell biology in characterizing predatory mixotrophs in aquatic environments. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374 (1786). Art. Nr. 20190090. DOI 10.1098/rstb.2019.0090.

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Photosynthesis in eukaryotes first arose through phagocytotic processes wherein an engulfed cyanobacterium was not digested, but instead became a permanent organelle. Other photosynthetic lineages then arose when eukaryotic cells engulfed other already photosynthetic eukaryotic cells. Some of the resulting lineages subsequently lost their ability for phagocytosis, while many others maintained the ability to do both processes. These mixotrophic taxa have more complicated ecological roles, in that they are both primary producers and consumers that can shift more towards producing the organic matter that forms the base of aquatic food chains, or towards respiring and releasing CO2. We still have much to learn about which taxa are predatory mixotrophs as well as about the physiological consequences of this lifestyle, in part, because much of the diversity of unicellular eukaryotes in aquatic ecosystems remains uncultured. Here, we discuss existing methods for studying predatory mixotrophs, their individual biases, and how single-cell approaches can enhance knowledge of these important taxa. The question remains what the gold standard should be for assigning a mixotrophic status to ill-characterized or uncultured taxa—a status that dictates how organisms are incorporated into carbon cycle models and how their ecosystem roles may shift in future lakes and oceans.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: mixotrophy, phagocytosis, microbial food webs, phytoplankton
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-OEB Ökosystembiologie des Ozeans
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0090
ISSN: 0962-8436
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 11:28
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 09:07

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