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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 72:187-193 (2014)  -  DOI:

Most ciliated protozoa in extreme environments are cryptic in the ‘seed bank’

Andréa Galotti1,2, Bland J. Finlay3, Francisco Jiménez-Gómez2, Francisco Guerrero2, Genoveva F. Esteban1,*

1Bournemouth University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Conservation Ecology and Environmental Science Group, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK
2Universidad de Jaén, Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología and Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ciencias de la Tierra, Campus de las Lagunillas, s/n, Jaén 23071, Spain
3Queen Mary University of London, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, The River Laboratory, Wareham, Dorset BH20 6BB, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the species richness of ciliated protozoa in inland saltpans. A low number of ciliates were found thriving under extreme high salinity; however, a diverse assemblage of ciliate species was revealed by gradually diluting the salt concentration, meaning that most ciliate species in these environments are hidden in the seed bank awaiting favourable growth conditions. In some saltpan samples, up to 100% of the ciliate species found were retrieved from the seed bank. Our results highlight the importance of ciliate seed banks as repositories of microbial diversity in the natural environment, enabling ecosystems to react to environmental change. The ability of microbial communities to respond to a changing environment depends on a large local diversity of rare and encysted species.

KEY WORDS: Ciliates · Cryptic biodiversity · Hypersaline · Saltpans

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Cite this article as: Galotti A, Finlay BJ, Jiménez-Gómez F, Guerrero F, Esteban GF (2014) Most ciliated protozoa in extreme environments are cryptic in the ‘seed bank’. Aquat Microb Ecol 72:187-193.

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