• PROTOS (CTM2009-08783, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain)
  • PI: Albert Calbet
  • Other participants: Enric Saiz, Miquel Alcaraz, Isabel Trepat, Rodrigo Martínez, Susana Garrido, Takashi Ota , Meritxell Antó, Romy Borrat
  • Duration: January 2010 – December 2012


Microzooplankton are key players in marine food webs as major consumers of primary producers, even in highly productive ecosystems.

Despite their importance, methodological constraints limit also our capacity to discern the specific effect of the different groups of microzooplankton, so their role must be studied through a "black-box" approach. In this project we aim at discerning the relative importance of the major microzooplanktonic groups (ciliates and dinoflagellates), focusing especially in their role during diatom blooms.


Main objectives

1. To estimate the impact of protozoan micrograzers on the primary producers of coastal NW Mediterranean waters, especially during periods of blooms of diatoms.

2. To determine basic ecophysiological and metabolical parameters for important species of marine micrograzers.

3. To determine the nutritional adequacy of different protozoans as prey for copepods, and their efficiency in the upgrading of food quality.

4. To study the effects of small-scale turbulence on the feeding behavior of different species of protozoans.

In these movies we show the 3 different modes of feeding of dinoflagellates: direct engulfment, tube-feeding and pallium-feeding.

Created and designed by Albert Calbet and Enric Saiz. Pictures as authored. Do not use contents without permission of the Marine Zooplankton Ecology Group (2005SGR - 00219, Generalitat de Catalunya) at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (contact: acalbet(at)