Connecting alveolate cell biology with trophic ecology in the marine plankton using the ciliate Favella as a model.
FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2014 Jul 19;
Authors: Echevarria ML, Wolfe GV, Strom SL, Taylor AR
Planktonic alveolates (ciliates and dinoflagellates), key trophic links in marine planktonic communities, exhibit complex behaviors that are underappreciated by microbiologists and ecologists. Furthermore, the physiological mechanisms underlying these behaviors are still poorly understood except in a few freshwater model ciliates, which are significantly different in cell structure and behavior than marine planktonic species. Here, we argue for an interdisciplinary research approach to connect physiological mechanisms with population-level outcomes of behaviors. Presenting the tintinnid ciliate Favella as a model alveolate, we review its population ecology, behavior, and cellular/molecular biology in the context of sensory biology and synthesize past research and current findings to construct a conceptual model describing the sensory biology of Favella. We discuss how emerging genomic information and new technical methods for integrating research across different levels of biological organization are paving the way for rapid advance. These research approaches will yield a deeper understanding of the role that planktonic alveolates may play in biogeochemical cycles, and how they may respond to future ocean conditions.
PMID: 25039294 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]