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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 36:305-310 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/ame036305

Podite carrying ciliates dominate the benthic ciliate community in the kelp forest

Ingrid Gismervik*

Section of Marine Biology and Limnology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1069 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway

ABSTRACT: The ciliate fauna on the kelp Laminaria hyperborea and 5 of its epiphytes was sampled in April and August, off the north-west coast of Norway. The lamina of the kelp carried few (old lamina) or no ciliates (new lamina), while podite carrying cyrtophorids of the order Dysteriida prevailed in April on the epiphytes. The highest number of ciliates was found on Ectocarpus sp. (total ciliate number of 20352 ± 5040 ciliates g-1 fresh weight, FW), with species of the genus Dysteria (8008 ± 1928 g-1 FW) and 1 species of the genus Hartmannula (Hartmannula angustipilosa; 8767 ± 5202 g-1 FW) being dominant. In August, the abundance of ciliates was greatly reduced on all epiphytes, although more taxa were observed. Aspidisca spp. (4829 ± 987 g-1 FW) dominated total numbers (6080 ± 1118 ciliates g-1 FW) on Ectocarpus sp. The infraciliature of 7 species from the family Dysteridae, including Agnathodysteria littoralis, Trochilia sigmoides and Dysteria monostyla, is described. The dysterids and H. angustipilosa carry a flexible podite by which they attach to the surface. The podite may be the key to success in this wave- and current-exposed environment.

KEY WORDS: Benthic ciliates · Dysteria spp. · Cyrtophorids · Kelp forest · Epiphytes · Abundance

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