Chemical Deterrence of a Marine Cyanobacterium against Sympatric and Non-sympatric Consumers
This study investigates the influence of mesograzer prior exposure to toxic metabolites on palatability of the marine cyanobacterium, Lyngbya majuscula. We examined the palatability of L. majuscula crude extract obtained from a bloom in Moreton Bay, South East Queensland, Australia, containing lyngbyatoxin-a (LTA) and debromoaplysiatoxin (DAT), to two groups: (1) mesograzers of L. majuscula from Guam where LTA and DAT production is rare; and (2) macro- and mesograzers found feeding on L. majuscula blooms in Moreton Bay where LTA and DAT are often prevalent secondary metabolites. Pair-wise feeding assays using artificial diets consisting of Ulva clathrata suspended in agar (control) or coated with Moreton Bay L. majuscula crude extracts (treatment) were used to determine palatability to a variety of consumers. In Guam, the amphipods, Parhyale hawaiensis and Cymadusa imbroglio; the majid crab Menaethius monoceros; and the urchin Echinometra mathaei were significantly deterred by the Moreton Bay crude extract. The sea hares, Stylocheilus striatus, from Guam were stimulated to feed by treatment food whereas S. striatus collected from Moreton Bay showed no discrimination between food types. In Moreton Bay, the cephalaspidean Diniatys dentifer and wild caught rabbitfish Siganus fuscescens were significantly deterred by the crude extract. However, captive-bred S. fuscescens with no known experience with L. majuscula did not clearly discriminate between food choices. Lyngbya majuscula crude extract deters feeding by most mesograzers regardless of prior contact or association with blooms.