Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Lisa Johnson, Long Island University, Southampton

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Ciliate Incorporation of Bacterial Lipids


Marine ciliates may incorporate lipids directly from their bacterial diets as an alternative to synthesizing their own lipids. In order to see if this is true a comparison of the lipid compositions of the ciliates to their diets could be made. However, in a natural environment many species of bacteria are present and it is impossible to determine which species are being grazed upon. Therefore the lipid composition of the diet could not be determined accurately. In order to compare the ciliates directly to their diet it would be ideal to isolate the ciliates in axenic culture and then to grow them on a single species of bacteria. This was not accomplished for our experiments due to time limitations, but ciliates growing on two different diets were compared to see if there were any lipid composition changes with alterations in diet. These two sets of ciliates had different lipid compositions suggesting that the ciliates do incorporate Iipids from their bacterial diets.