Significance of plankton community structure and nutrient availability for the control of dinoflagellate blooms by parasites: A modeling approach

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Abstract

Dinoflagellate blooms are frequently observed under temporary eutrophication of coastal waters after heavy rains. Growth of these opportunistic microalgae is believed to be promoted by sudden input of nutrients and the absence or inefficiency of their natural enemies, such as grazers and parasites. Here, numerical simulations indicate that increasing nutrient availability not only promotes the formation of dinoflagellate blooms but can also stimulate their control by protozoan parasites. Moreover, high abundance of phytoplankton other than dinoflagellate hosts might have a significant dilution effect on the control of dinoflagellate blooms by parasites, either by resource competition with dinoflagellates (thus limiting the number of hosts available for infection) or by affecting numerical-functional responses of grazers that consume free-living parasite stages. These outcomes indicate that although both dinoflagellates and their protozoan parasites are directly affected by nutrient availability, the efficacy of the parasitic control of dinoflagellate blooms under temporary eutrophication depends strongly on the structure of the plankton community as a whole.

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Alves-de-Souza, C., Pecqueur, D., Le Floc’H, E., Mas, S., Roques, C., Mostajir, B., … Guillou, L. (2015). Significance of plankton community structure and nutrient availability for the control of dinoflagellate blooms by parasites: A modeling approach. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127623

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