Teamwork in the viscous oceanic microscale
Kanso, Eva A.
Lopes, Rubens M.
Strickler, J. Rudi
Dabiri, John O.
Costello, John H.
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Nutrient acquisition is crucial for oceanic microbes, and competitive solutions to solve this challenge have evolved among a range of unicellular protists. However, solitary solutions are not the only approach found in natural populations. A diverse array of oceanic protists form temporary or even long-lasting attachments to other protists and marine aggregates. Do these planktonic consortia provide benefits to their members? Here, we use empirical and modeling approaches to evaluate whether the relationship between a large centric diatom, Coscinodiscus wailesii, and a ciliate epibiont, Pseudovorticella coscinodisci, provides nutrient flux benefits to the host diatom. We find that fluid flows generated by ciliary beating can increase nutrient flux to a diatom cell surface four to 10 times that of a still cell without ciliate epibionts. This cosmopolitan species of diatom does not form consortia in all environments but frequently joins such consortia in nutrient-depleted waters. Our results demonstrate that symbiotic consortia provide a cooperative alternative of comparable or greater magnitude to sinking for enhancement of nutrient acquisition in challenging environments.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Kanso, E. A., Lopes, R. M., Strickler, J. R., Dabiri, J. O., & Costello, J. H. Teamwork in the viscous oceanic microscale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(29), (2021): e2018193118, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2018193118.
Suggested CitationKanso, E. A., Lopes, R. M., Strickler, J. R., Dabiri, J. O., & Costello, J. H. (2021). Teamwork in the viscous oceanic microscale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(29), e2018193118.
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