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Abstract

The dinoflagellate Cryptoperidiniopsis sp. was isolated from sediment samples taken from Virginia estuaries, and established in culture for subsequent growth and feeding studies. The maximum abundance, or yield, of Cryptoperidiniopsis is exponentially related to the concentration of algal prey and is saturated at about 4.00 X 105 mL-1. Salinity from 10-20 ppt and temperature between 15-25 C have no effect on the yield of this form of Cryptoperidiniopsis. Light intensity has a secondary effect in that the algal prey reproduces more quickly in higher light as they are being grazed. Growth rates of Cryptoperidiniopsis were highest with a cryptophyte, Cryptomonas, as food, but growth was also demonstrated utilizing both diatoms and chlorophytes. Cryptoperidiniopsis sp. is similar to Pfiesteria in that it feeds myzocytotically with a peduncle, is similar in size and shape, has a complex life cycle, and is distinguished only by plates hidden under membranes.

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