Preliminary attempts to culture Amoebophrya sp., a parasite of Gymnodinium sanguineum from Chesapeake Bay, indicated that success may be influenced by water quality. To explore that possibility, we determined development time, reproductive output, and infectivity of progeny (i.e. dinospores) for Amoebophrya sp. maintained on G. sanguineum grown in four different culture media. The duration of the parasite's intracellular growth phase showed no significant difference among treatments; however, the time required for completion of multiple parasite generations did, with elapsed time to the middle of the third generation being shorter in nutrient-replete media. Parasites of hosts grown in nutrient-replete medium also produced three to four times more dinospores than those infecting hosts under low-nutrient conditions, with mean values of 380 and 130 dinospores/host, respectively. Dinospore production relative to host biovolume also differed, with peak values of 7.4 per 1,000 μm3 host for nutrient-replete medium and 4.8 per 1,000 μm3 host for nutrient-limited medium. Furthermore, dinospores produced by “high-nutrient” parasites had a higher success rate than those formed by “low-nutrient” parasites. Results suggest that Amoebophrya sp. is well adapted to exploit G. sanguineum populations in nutrient-enriched environments.
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Vol. 47 • No. 5