Diatoms and copepods are main actors in marine food webs. The prey-predator interactions between them affect bloom dynamics, shape marine ecosystems and impact the energy transfer to higher trophic levels. Recently it has been demonstrated that the presence of grazers may affect the diatom prey beyond the direct effect of grazing. Here, we investigated the response of the chain-forming centric diatom Skeletonema marinoi to grazer cues, including changes in morphology, gene expression and metabolic profile. S. marinoi cells were incubated with Calanus finmarchicus or with Centropages typicus and in both cases responded by reducing the chain length, whereas changes in gene expression indicated an activation of stress response, changes in the lipid and nitrogen metabolism, in cell cycle regulation and in frustule formation. Transcripts linked to G protein-coupled receptors and to nitric oxide synthesis were differentially expressed suggesting involvement of these signalling transduction pathways in the response. Downregulation of a lipoxygenase in the transcriptomic data and of its products in the metabolomic data also indicate an involvement of oxylipins. Our data contribute to a better understanding of the gene function in diatoms, providing information on the nature of genes implicated in the interaction with grazers, a crucial process in marine ecosystems.
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