INTRACELLULAR CYANOBACTERIAL SYMBIONTS IN THE MARINE DIATOM CLIMACODIUM FRAUENFELDIANUM (BACILLARIOPHYCEAE)

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Abstract

The diatom Climacodium frauenfeldianum Grunow was collected in the tropical Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Observations with epifluorescence microscopy revealed that this diatom contained coccoid symbionts (2.5–3.5 μm) with a typical cyanobacterial fluorescence in addition to that of their own chloroplasts. Mean concentration of C. frauenfeldianum for 28 stations in the SW tropical Pacific Ocean was 530 x 103 (SE = 1372) cells·m2, with highest concentration (mean 17.5 cells·L1) at 40-m depth. The symbiosis was only observed at water temperatures between 26.3 and 28.9° C, with highest concentrations at 27.7° C. Three almost complete 16S rDNA sequences from one sample were determined, and they were identical. The phylogenetic analysis of this 16S rDNA sequence and those from other cyanobacteria and plastids revealed that it was closely related to the 16S rDNA sequence from Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142. Cyanothece sp. ATCC 51142 is a unicellular nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium isolated from a coastal marine environment and has ultrastructural features similar to the symbionts of C. frauenfeldianum. The close relationship between Cyanothece sp. and the cyanobacterial symbiont in C. frauenfeldianum suggests the potential for nitrogen fixation in the symbiosis.

Ancillary