Marine Biology

, Volume 132, Issue 3, pp 349–355 | Cite as

A novel symbiosis between a cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp., an aplastidic protist, Solenicola setigera, and a diatom, Leptocylindrus mediterraneus, in the open ocean

  • K. R. Buck
  • W. N. Bentham


The abundance, biomass and distribution of Solenicola setigera, a colonial heterotrophic protist found only with the centric chain-forming diatom Leptocylindusmediterraneus, are reported for four major ocean basins. The distribution is cosmopolitan, and abundances and biomass are usually low (\(\)<500 colonies l−1); however, in the summer of 1993, we observed a major biomass component (range = 5 to 31 μg C l−1) in the surface waters of the North Atlantic attributable to S. setigera. These colonies of S. setigera were exceptionally large, and unusual in possessing high abundances of Synechococcus sp., a normally solitary cyanobacterium, embedded in the matrix covering the cells. We hypothesize that this relationship was mutually beneficial for both Solenicola setigera and Synechococcus sp.


Biomass Surface Water High Abundance Synechococcus Open Ocean 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. R. Buck
    • 1
  • W. N. Bentham
    • 2
  1. 1.Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, P.O. Box 628, Moss Landing, California 95039, USA Fax: +(0) 831 775 1645US
  2. 2.University of California, Electron Microscope Laboratory, 26 Giannini Hall, Berkeley, California 94720-3330, USAUS

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