Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)
Maristentor dinoferus n.gen. n.sp., a giant heterotrich ciliate (Spirotrichea: Heterotrichida) with zooxanthellae, from coral reefs on Guam, Mariana Islands
Lobban CS, Schefter M, Simpson AGB, Pochon X, Pawlowski J and Foissner W 2002. Maristentor dinoferus n.gen. n.sp., a giant heterotrich ciliate (Spirotrichea: Heterotrichida) with zooxanthellae, from coral reefs on Guam, Mariana Islands. Marine Biology, 140: 411-423.
DOI link here.
Maristentor dinoferus n. gen, n. sp., was discovered on coral reefs on Guam in 1996 and has since been found frequently, at depths of 3–20 m. It forms black clusters, visible to the naked eye, especially on Padina spp. (Phaeophyta) and other light-colored backgrounds. When fully extended, this sessile ciliate is trumpet-shaped, up to 1 mm tall and 300 µm wide across the cap. The ciliate is host to 500–800 symbiotic algae. The anterior cap, or peristomial area, is divided into two conspicuous lobes by a deep ventral indentation. There is a single globular macronucleus, many micronuclei and, on average, 101 somatic ciliary rows and 397 adoral membranelles. M. dinoferus may be closely related to limnetic Stentor spp., but differs in two conspicuous features: (1) the cilia on the peristomial bottom are scattered (ordered rows in Stentor spp.) and (2) the paroral membrane is very short and opposite the buccal portion of the adoral zone of membranelles (in Stentor spp., it accompanies the entire membranellar zone). The cells appear dark due to stripes of cortical granules; the granules are more concentrated in a "black band" below the cap. The cortical pigment(s) is red fluorescent with a broad absorption peak in the blue (ca. 420–480 nm), and sharp peaks in the yellow-green (ca. 550 nm) and red (600 nm). Ultrastructural and molecular data demonstrate that the symbiont is a dinoflagellate of the genus Symbiodinium, the first unequivocal report of zooxanthellae in a ciliate. Phylogenetic analysis of a portion of the large subunit ribosomal RNA gene (28S rDNA) showed that the symbionts belong to Symbiodinium sp. clade C, a lineage that also inhabits many corals on Guam. The ciliate changes shape at night, and the symbionts, which are spread out in the cap during the day, are mostly withdrawn into the stalk at night; these changes were apparently not simply a response to darkness.