Ecology of testate amoebae (Protists) in a Sphagnum-dominated peat bog and the relationship between species assemblages and environmental parameters

Michał Niedźwiecki, Tomasz Mieczan and Małgorzata Adamczuk

Abstract

Despite its ecological importance, little information is available regarding spatial and seasonal changes in the testate amoebae community in peat bogs. The objectives of this study were to examine the structure of communities and horizontal distribution of testate amoebae fauna, to improve the understanding of factors affecting the distribution of moss testate amoebae communities and to analyze the seasonal changes in testate amoebae communities in a Sphagnum-dominated peat bog (eastern Poland). A total of 45 testate amoebae species were identified in the samples. The highest species richness occurred in hollows dominated by Sphagnum angustifollum, much lower numbers of taxa were observed in hummocks dominated by Sphagnum magellanicum and Polytrichum. The Monte Carlo permutation test showed the significance of Ntot, temperature, pH, and the depth to the water table for the variability of testate amoebae in all microhabitats. Species found in spring samples were associated with the increased Ntot content. Species occurring in summer samples were associated with the increasing pH gradient and species developing in late spring and autumn preferred a greater depth to the water table.

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Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies is devoted to topics concerning the water environment, both freshwater and saltwater. The objective pursued by the Journal is to collect and publish in one medium the findings of worldwide studies on various types of water environment and climatic conditions.

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