The dinoflagellate Pfiesteria piscicida coexists with bacteria in aquatic environments and as such, may interact with them at the physiological level. This study was designed to investigate the influence of bacteria, present in a clonal culture of Pfiesteria piscicida, on the predator/prey relationship of this dinoflagellate with the alga Rhodomonas. A series of replenishment experiments with bacteria isolated from P. piscicida clonal culture and the bacteria-free P. piscicida derived from the same culture were carried out. In the presence of bacteria, the number of P. piscicida increased significantly when incubated with alga Rhodomonas. This enhanced growth was almost entirely due to the increased consumption rate of Rhodomonas by P. piscicida since in bacteria-free (axenic) cultures Rhodomonas were consumed at significantly reduced rates relative to cultures with bacteria. Subsequent replenishment experiments with individual bacterial isolates showed that a single isolate was responsible for the increased predation rate of P. piscicida. The presence or absence of this specific bacterium determined the outcome of the interaction between P. piscicida and Rhodomonas. Partial sequence analysis of the 16S rDNA of this isolate indicated that it was a novel marine alpha proteobacterium with sequence similarities to a Roseobacter sp. and a bacterium recently isolated from a toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium sp.