Dinoflagellates behavioural response to predators

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Heterotrophic dinoflagellates are motile protozoans which act both as predators and as prey items, and as a result play a key role in carbon and nutrient cycling. Motility is an important feature allowing dinoflagellates to move towards prey and nutrient patches, but can also serve as defence mechanisms against being eaten. Preliminary results demonstrate that dinoflagellates, which are unicellular organisms, are able to detect the presence of predator and in response stop moving to avoid being detected. Surprisingly, we also observed that dinoflagellate swim towards their predators and aggregate for example around copepods antenna and anal segment, likely attracted by excreted nutrients. The student will therefore investigate the parameters controlling dinoflagellates behaviour and how these planktonic organisms react to predators presence.
Number of students: 
academic year: 
Reference Number: RP-35512