A novel symbiosis between a cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp., an aplastidic protist, Solenicola setigera, and a diatom, Leptocylindrus mediterraneus, in the open ocean
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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.
KeywordsBiomass Surface Water High Abundance Synechococcus Open Ocean
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