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Motile behaviour of the bloom-forming ciliate Mesodinium rubrum
Fenchel, T.; Hansen, P.J. (2006). Motile behaviour of the bloom-forming ciliate Mesodinium rubrum. Mar. Biol. Res. 2(1): 33-40
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo; Basingstoke. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Behavioural responses; Cilia; Mesodinium rubrum (Lohmann, 1908) [WoRMS]; ANE, Denmark [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Fenchel, T., more
  • Hansen, P.J.

    Mesodinium rubrum (Lohman) (=Myrionecta rubra Jankowsky) swims backwards in jumps of short duration interspersed by longer periods of rest. Cells attain a velocity of up to 1.2 cm s-1 during jumps and this is probably a speed record for ciliates. The ciliate carries long cirri that serve as mechanoreceptors and for orientating the cell at the initiation of jumps, while the ciliary rows on the posterior part of the cell are responsible for propulsion. The cirri are sensitive to shear so that they can orientate themselves against the current in a siphon flow (such as generated by filter-feeding copepods). Mesodinium cells do not reorientate their body axis during sinking, but they reorientate their direction during the initiation of jumps so that they always tend to move upwards. Because the cells sink between jumps they can regulate their vertical position by modulation of the frequency of jumps. The cells’ tendency to drift vertically up or down is light dependent. The jumps are so rapid that these phototrophic organisms can enhance their uptake of dissolved mineral nutrients beyond the limitation of molecular diffusion.

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