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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 74:95-105 (2015)  -  DOI:

Colonisation and succession of marine biofilm-dwelling ciliates in response to environmental variation

Matthew G. Watson1,*, Andrew J. Scardino2, Liliana Zalizniak1, Jeff Shimeta1

1School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, PO Box 71, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
2Maritime Division, DSTO Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Fishermans Bend, Victoria 3207, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Protozoan assemblages and successional dynamics are important components of biofouling that require better understanding. We studied marine ciliates in temperate Australia as they colonised artificial substrates for 21 d during 2 different seasons, with 2 different aspects of orientation. Sessile and planktonic taxa established within 7 d, whereas vagile taxa colonised throughout the period. Abundances reached 366 ciliates cm-2. Colonies of the peritrichs Zoothamnium and Vorticella, and the hypotrichs Aspidisca and Euplotes were the most abundant. The north aspect received more light than the south aspect during summer, but assemblages did not differ significantly. Assemblage structure was different between seasons, and it developed more quickly and reached greater abundances during summer. A storm late in summer abruptly reduced abundances and affected functional groups differently, but diversity was largely unaffected. Thus, diversity of an established assemblage can be maintained through disturbances, despite abundances being subject to great fluctuation.

KEY WORDS: Ciliates · Functional group · Marine microbial ecology · Marine organisms · Microbial assemblage structure

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Cite this article as: Watson MG, Scardino AJ, Zalizniak L, Shimeta J (2015) Colonisation and succession of marine biofilm-dwelling ciliates in response to environmental variation. Aquat Microb Ecol 74:95-105.

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