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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Colonies as defence in the freshwater phytoplankton genus Dinobryon (Chrysophyceae) Armstrong, Gary Dale


This thesis addresses the idea that colony formation effectively increases the size of a phytoplankter thereby reducing grazing losses by deterring ingestion by zooplankton. It was initially hypothesized that colonies of Dinobryon (Ochromonadales, Chrysophyceae) deter zooplankton grazers, and that their spring population declined either because of a drop in the mean colony size of the Dinobryon population or from an increase in the abundances of large zooplankton grazers capable of ingesting large colonies. From January to May 1983 a small dystrophic lake was sampled weekly at three discrete depths at two stations. In the samples collected from one station, two species of Dinobryon, D. cylindricum Imhof and D. diverqens Imhof, as well as all zooplankton species were enumerated and morphometric variables of Dinobryon colonies were measured. The results showed that, alone, each of the original hypotheses could not account for the population and colony size dynamics of the Dinobryon species present in the lake. A new hypothesis was generated from the results which suggested that Dinobryon colonies minimized grazing losses to small grazers because of increased size and to larger grazers by fragmentation upon capture. Subsequent evaluation of the assumptions of this new hypothesis, using both the original data and new data from the second station, added further support to the hypothesis.

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