Anni’s paper focuses on how different groups of microbial zooplankton  (protozoa and rotifers) balance their composition in macronutrients (carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous) necessary for their growth, when faced with foods of different quality.

It is not well-understood how microbial zooplankton do this, even though they are a vital link in transferring nutrients between bacteria and phytoplankton, and the larger zooplankton. Anni’s research makes a key contribution to this topic and shows that there are important distinctions in how different species of microzooplankton depend on their diet to maintain nutritional balance. While flagellates in general match the nutrient balance of their prey, ciliates and rotifers can indeed physiologically improve their own nutritional quality. In other words, they are better quality food for higher trophic levels than what their food is to them. Sometimes you are not what you eat!

This is highly relevant information as climate change and eutrophication are likely to affect the macronutrient ratios in aquatic ecosystems, and as such the quality of bacteria and phytoplankton as food. Anni and her colleagues show that ciliates and rotifers can buffer higher trophic levels from these possible negative effects.

You can (and should) read the paper here: