In the present study, we have investigated the conditions influencing encystment and excystment in the dinoflagellate Gyrodinium instriatum under laboratory conditions. We incubated G. instriatum in modified whole SWM-3 culture medium and in versions of modified SWM-3 from which NO3-, PO43-, NO3- + PO43-, or Si had been omitted and observed encystment. Percentage encystment was high in the media without N and without P, while the percentage encystment in the medium lacking both N and P was highest. Moreover, to investigate N or P concentration which induced the encystment, Gyrodinium instriatum was also incubated in media with different concentrations of inorganic N and P; the concentrations of NO2- + NO3- and PO43- were measured over time. The precursors of cysts appeared within 2 or 3 days of a decrease in NO2- + NO3- or PO43- concentration to values lower than 1 μM or 0.2 μM, respectively. When cysts produced in the laboratory were incubated, we observed excystment after 8-37 days, without a mandatory period of darkness or low temperature. We incubated cysts collected from nature at different temperatures or in the dark or light and observed excystments. Natural cysts excysted at temperatures from 10 to 30°C, in both light and dark, but excystment was delayed at low temperatures. These studies indicate that G. instriatum encysts in low N or P concentration and excysts over a wide temperature range, regardless of light conditions, after short dormancy periods.
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