Research Article

Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 5, pp 1065-1076

First online:

Sugar compound products of the periphytic diatom Navicula ramosissima induce larval settlement in the barnacle, Amphibalanus amphitrite

  • Tomoyuki JouuchiAffiliated withGraduate School of Science and Technology, Nagasaki University Email author 
  • , Cyril Glenn SatuitoAffiliated withGraduate School of Science and Technology, Nagasaki University
  • , Hitoshi KitamuraAffiliated withFaculty of Fisheries, Nagasaki University

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This study investigated the response of cyprids of the barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite to 23 strains of laboratory cultured periphytic diatoms isolated from microbial biofilms that formed on glass slides immersed in Tachibana bay, Nagasaki, and those from mass-production tanks in the Fisheries Center of Nagasaki City, Japan. In addition, periphytic diatoms were subjected to various treatments, in order to investigate the nature of the chemical cue in periphytic diatoms. Cyprids of A. amphitrite responded differently to the 23 different periphytic diatom strains and settled in high percentages on Cocconeis sp. and Navicula ramosissima strain A. On the other hand, nine strains of diatoms significantly inhibited settlement. The settlement inducing activity of N. ramosissima strain A increased linearly with diatom density, and its activity was enhanced by culturing the diatom under a bacteria-free condition, suggesting that specific diatom species, i.e., N. ramosissima strain A, may play an important role on larval settlement of the barnacle. Subjecting N. ramosissima strain A biofilm to hydrochloric acid (HCl) and ethanol (EtOH) treatments or heating it at 100°C did not inactivate the film, indicating that the settlement cue was a stable surface bound compound that did not decompose from the above treatments. Moreover, of the various lectins, enzymes, and drugs [H5IO6 and sodium dodecyl sulfate or (SDS)] used, only Lentil Agglutinin (LCA) treatment of N. ramosissima strain A biofilm resulted in the reduction its settlement inducing activity. A positive correlation was observed between the settlement inducing activity and the amount of LCA conjugated fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC-LCA) of N. ramosissima strain A. On the other hand, subjecting biofilms of N. ramosissima strain B, an inactive strain, to various types of treatments resulted in the induction of A. amphitrite larval settlement but LCA treatment also reduced the activity of these treated N. ramosissima strain B biofilms. These findings suggest that a cue containing an LCA-binding sugar chain is present in both A and B strains of N. ramosissima but the large amount of mucous substance covering N. ramosissima strain B biofilm probably makes the sugar chain containing active subunit in strain B unavailable to A. amphitrite cyprids. In conclusion, periphytic diatoms such as N. ramosissima play an important role in larval settlement of the barnacle A. amphitrite. The cue in the diatom was an LCA-binding sugar chain(s) compound that may have similarities to the settlement inducing protein complex (SIPC) from adult shell of the barnacle.