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Keywords:

  • Feeding;
  • food web;
  • predator;
  • prey;
  • protist;
  • red tide;
  • trophic interactions

Heterotrophic dinoflagellates are ubiquitous and often abundant protists in marine environments. Recently, several novel predator-prey relationships between heterotrophic dinoflagellates and other planktonic organisms have been discovered and shown to have diverse ecological roles. Heterotrophic dinoflagellates are predators on a wide array of prey items, including phytoplankton, copepod eggs, and early naupliar stages. They are in turn important prey for some metazoa. Some heterotrophic dinoflagellates are predators of and simultaneously prey for other dinoflagellates. These newly discovered predator-prey relationships may influence our conventional view of energy flow and carbon cycling in the marine planktonic community.