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Experiments on the resynthesis of symbiosis in Convoluta roscoffensis with different flagellate cultures

  • L. Provasoli (a1), T. Yamasu (a1) and I. Manton (a2)


The symbiotic condition of Convoluta roscoffensis has been resynthesized in vitro by feeding new-born colourless larvae with various clones of Platymonas convolutae Parke & Manton available in culture. Greening has also been brought about by feeding larvae with other species distinguishable from the natural symbiont by pyrenoid characters, but subsequent growth of the greened larvae was less and the length of time required for greening greater. The minimum presentation time effective in initiating greening with alien symbionts in 100% of tested larvae was also greater. Cell multiplication of successful symbionts is mitotic, division stages being demonstrated in sections of worms with different types of symbiont. When cultures of potential symbionts were made available competitively in pairs, greening normally involved only one member of a pair, success being apparently determined by the order of relative efficiency demonstrated in the single-culture infections. A chimaeral condition, with two different symbionts present together, was produced and is demonstrated—but only as a temporary phase in an experiment designed to give an alien symbiont a very long start before admitting the real one. In this experiment effective greening with Prasinocladus marinas did not impede prompt entry of Platymonas convolutae when it was supplied, and this was followed by rapid and complete elimination of the alien symbiont. An interpretation of these various findings is discussed in a preliminary way.



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Parke, M. & Manton, I., 1967. The specific identity of the algal symbiont in Convoluta roscoffensis. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K., Vol. 47, pp. 445–64.


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