Molecular approach for analysis of in situ feeding by the dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans

Goh Nishitani, Masaomi Shiromoto, Waka Sato-Okoshi, Akira Ishikawa

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The red tide forming heterotrophic dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans is common in temperate to tropical waters around the world. Understanding the in situ prey of N. scintillans is essential for elucidating its role in marine microbial food webs. In this study, we applied two polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based cloning techniques, a predator-specific restriction enzyme, and a blocking primer. The PCR of nuclear 18S rDNA was performed on single N. scintillans cells that were collected from Ishinomaki Bay, Japan, in May 2018. The maximum detection rates of non-Noctiluca sequences were 56% using the restriction enzyme method and 87% with the blocking primer method, representing a broad taxonomic range of organisms, including diatom, dinoflagellate, bolidophyte, haptophyte, euglenophyte, green algae, golden algae, ciliate, heliozoa, copepod, brown seaweed, sponge, bivalve, and polychaete. The diverse DNA was probably ingested by N. scintillans directly or indirectly through secondary predation or ingestion of marine snow or detritus containing many organisms. The application of molecular approaches to various species may reveal undiscovered interactions within the phytoplankton community, including prey-predator, or symbiotic relationships.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101928
    JournalHarmful Algae
    Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov


    • Blocking primer
    • Dinoflagellate
    • Noctiluca
    • Prey
    • Restriction enzyme digestion

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Aquatic Science
    • Plant Science


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