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The possession of Coccoliths fails to deter microzooplankton grazers

The possession of Coccoliths fails to deter microzooplankton grazers
The possession of Coccoliths fails to deter microzooplankton grazers
Phytoplankton play a central role in the regulation of global carbon and nutrient cycles, forming the basis of the marine food webs. A group of biogeochemically important phytoplankton, the coccolithophores, produce calcium carbonate scales that have been hypothesized to deter or reduce grazing by microzooplankton. Here, a meta-analysis of mesocosm-based experiments demonstrates that calcification of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi, fails to deter microzooplankton grazing. The median grazing to growth ratio for E. huxleyi (0.56 ± 0.40) was not significantly different among non-calcified nano- or picoeukaryotes (0.71 ± 0.31 and 0.55 ± 0.34, respectively). Additionally, the environmental concentration of E. huxleyi did not drive preferential grazing of non-calcified groups. These results strongly suggest that the possession of coccoliths does not provide E. huxleyi effective protection from microzooplankton grazing. Such indiscriminate consumption has implications for the dissolution and fate of CaCO3 in the ocean, and the evolution of coccoliths.
biomineralisation, coccolithophore, evolution, microzooplankton, phytoplankton, predation
2296-7745
Mayers, Kyle M. J.
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Poulton, Alex J.
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Bidle, Kay
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Thamatrakoln, Kimberlee
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Schieler, Brittany
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Giering, Sarah L. C.
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Wells, Seona R.
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Tarran, Glen A.
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Mayor, Dan
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Johnson, Matthew
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Riebesell, Ulf
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Larsen, Aud
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Vardi, Assaf
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Harvey, Elizabeth L.
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Mayers, Kyle M. J.
9841ee5d-63fb-441e-a5e7-5b611468723d
Poulton, Alex J.
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Bidle, Kay
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Thamatrakoln, Kimberlee
c0222025-7e5e-48ca-a77e-c7cb24eaff49
Schieler, Brittany
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Giering, Sarah L. C.
e9b75287-e35e-414a-a5f2-cef9f2ab2efd
Wells, Seona R.
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Tarran, Glen A.
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Mayor, Dan
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Johnson, Matthew
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Riebesell, Ulf
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Larsen, Aud
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Vardi, Assaf
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Harvey, Elizabeth L.
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Mayers, Kyle M. J., Poulton, Alex J., Bidle, Kay, Thamatrakoln, Kimberlee, Schieler, Brittany, Giering, Sarah L. C., Wells, Seona R., Tarran, Glen A., Mayor, Dan, Johnson, Matthew, Riebesell, Ulf, Larsen, Aud, Vardi, Assaf and Harvey, Elizabeth L. (2020) The possession of Coccoliths fails to deter microzooplankton grazers. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, [569896]. (doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.569896).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Phytoplankton play a central role in the regulation of global carbon and nutrient cycles, forming the basis of the marine food webs. A group of biogeochemically important phytoplankton, the coccolithophores, produce calcium carbonate scales that have been hypothesized to deter or reduce grazing by microzooplankton. Here, a meta-analysis of mesocosm-based experiments demonstrates that calcification of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi, fails to deter microzooplankton grazing. The median grazing to growth ratio for E. huxleyi (0.56 ± 0.40) was not significantly different among non-calcified nano- or picoeukaryotes (0.71 ± 0.31 and 0.55 ± 0.34, respectively). Additionally, the environmental concentration of E. huxleyi did not drive preferential grazing of non-calcified groups. These results strongly suggest that the possession of coccoliths does not provide E. huxleyi effective protection from microzooplankton grazing. Such indiscriminate consumption has implications for the dissolution and fate of CaCO3 in the ocean, and the evolution of coccoliths.

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Accepted/In Press date: 22 October 2020
Published date: 2 December 2020
Keywords: biomineralisation, coccolithophore, evolution, microzooplankton, phytoplankton, predation

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445479
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445479
ISSN: 2296-7745
PURE UUID: e1a175bb-3702-49f0-a22c-67fd9b3a9e76

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Date deposited: 10 Dec 2020 17:32
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 19:39

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Contributors

Author: Kyle M. J. Mayers
Author: Alex J. Poulton
Author: Kay Bidle
Author: Kimberlee Thamatrakoln
Author: Brittany Schieler
Author: Sarah L. C. Giering
Author: Seona R. Wells
Author: Glen A. Tarran
Author: Dan Mayor
Author: Matthew Johnson
Author: Ulf Riebesell
Author: Aud Larsen
Author: Assaf Vardi
Author: Elizabeth L. Harvey

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