Intra- and interspecies differences in growth and toxicity of Pseudo-nitzschia while using different nitrogen sources
Thessen, Anne E.
Bowers, H. A.
Stoecker, Diane K.
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Clonal cultures of plankton are widely used in laboratory experiments and have contributed greatly to knowledge of microbial systems. However, many physiological characteristics vary drastically between strains of the same species, calling into question our ability to make ecologically relevant inferences about populations based on studying one or a few strains. This study included nineteen non-axenic strains of three species of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia isolated primarily from the mid-Atlantic coastal region of the United States. Toxin (domoic acid) production and growth rates were measured in cultures using different nitrogen sources (NH4+, NO3- and urea) and growth irradiances. The strains exhibited broad differences in growth rate and toxin content even between strains isolated from the same water sample. The influence of bacteria on toxin production was not investigated. Both P. multiseries clones produced toxin, yet preferentially used different nitrogen sources. Only two out of nine P. calliantha and two out of five P. fraudulenta isolates were toxic and domoic acid content varied by orders of magnitude. All three species had variable intraspecies growth rates on each nitrogen source, but P. fraudulenta strains had the broadest range. Light-limited growth rate and maximum growth rate in P. fraudulenta and P. multiseries varied with species. These findings show the importance of defining intra- and interspecies variability in ecophysiology and toxicity. Ecologically relevant functional diversity in the form of ecotypes or cryptic species appears to be present in the genus Pseudo-nitzschia.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Harmful Algae 8 (2009): 792-810, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2009.01.003.
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