Mixotrophy everywhere on land and in water: the grand écart hypothesis

Marc-Andre Selosse , Marie Charpin , Fabrice Not


There is increasing awareness that many terrestrial and aquatic organisms are not strictly heterotrophic or autotrophic but rather mixotrophic. Mixotrophy is an intermediate nutritional strategy, merging autotrophy and heterotrophy to acquire organic carbon and/or other elements, mainly N, P or Fe. We show that both terrestrial and aquatic mixotrophs fall into three categories, namely necrotrophic (where autotrophs prey on other organisms), biotrophic (where heterotrophs gain autotrophy by symbiosis) and absorbotrophic (where autotrophs take up environmental organic molecules). Here we discuss their physiological and ecological relevance since mixotrophy is found in virtually every ecosystem and occurs across the whole eukaryotic phylogeny, suggesting an evolutionary pressure towards mixotrophy. Ecosystem dynamics tend to separate light from non‐carbon nutrients (N and P resources): the biological pump and water stratification in aquatic ecosystems deplete non‐carbon nutrients from the photic zone, while terrestrial plant successions create a canopy layer with light but devoid of non‐carbon soil nutrients. In both aquatic and terrestrial environments organisms face a grand écart (dancer's splits, i.e., the need to reconcile two opposing needs) between optimal conditions for photosynthesis vs. gain of non‐carbon elements. We suggest that mixotrophy allows adaptation of organisms to such ubiquist environmental gradients, ultimately explaining why mixotrophic strategies are widespread.
Author Marc-Andre Selosse KTRiOP
Marc-Andre Selosse,,
- Department of Plant Taxonomy and Nature Conservation
, Marie Charpin
Marie Charpin,,
, Fabrice Not
Fabrice Not,,
Journal seriesEcology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets0.85
Keywords in Englishbiological pump, carnivorous plants, hemiparasitism, kleptoplastidy, mycoheterotrophy, mycorrhiza, osmotrophy, phagotrophy, photosymbiosis, protists
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12714/epdf
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)50
ScoreMinisterial score = 50.0, 20-12-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 50.0, 20-12-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 9.449 (2) - 2016=13.327 (5)
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