Does prey availability influence the detection of Dinophysis spp. by the imaging FlowCytobot?
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Does prey availability influence the detection of Dinophysis spp. by the imaging FlowCytobot?

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  • Journal Title:
    Harmful Algae
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  • Description:
    The Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) is a field-deployable imaging-in-flow cytometer that is increasingly being used to monitor harmful algae. The IFCB acquires images of suspended particles based on their chlorophyll-a fluorescence and/or the amount of light they scatter (side scattering). The present study hypothesized that fluorescence-based image acquisition would undercount Dinophysis spp., a genus of non-constitutive mixotrophs, when prey is limited. This is because Dinophysis spp. acquire plastids via ingestion of their ciliate prey Mesodinium spp., and lose photosynthetic capacity and autofluorescence in the absence of prey. Even small blooms of Dinophysis spp. can be highly toxic and result in diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP), highlighting the importance of accurately detecting low abundances. To explore this, laboratory experiments were conducted to determine optimal IFCB settings for a fed culture of Dinophysis acuminata, and an existing time series of IFCB observations collected in Puget Sound (Washington, U.S.A) was used to compare Dinophysis spp. abundance estimates from samples triggered via side scattering versus fluorescence in relation to Mesodinium spp. abundance. This study introduces a quantitative approach for optimizing the detection of target harmful algae which can be repeated across multiple IFCBs and demonstrates the effects of IFCB calibration on Dinophysis spp. detection. The laboratory experiments showed that IFCB settings for fluorescence-based image acquisition need to be fairly sensitive to accurately detect D. acuminata cells. A poorly calibrated IFCB can miss a significant proportion of D. acuminata abundance whatever the method used to trigger the image acquisition. Field results demonstrated that the physiological status of Dinophysis spp. can influence their detection by the IFCB when triggering on fluorescence. This was observed during a 7-day period when the IFCB failed to detect Dinophysis spp. cells when triggering on fluorescence while cells were still detected using the side scattering triggering method as well as observed by microscopy. During this period, Mesodinium spp. was not detected, IFCB-derived autofluorescence level of individual cells of Dinophysis spp. was low, and less than 50 % of Dinophysis spp. cells exhibited autofluorescence under the microscope. Together, this indicates that the unique feeding ecology of Dinophysis spp. may affect their detection by the IFCB when cells are starved.
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    Harmful Algae 130 (2023) 102544
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    Accepted Manuscript
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