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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Representative of ciliate assemblages off the New England coast. Ciliates in black portion of star are restricted to offshore; those in the white portion are present almost everywhere. Empty stars represent communities that do not match the assemblages. Image: Kelsie Maurer-Alcalá, Jean-David Grattepanche

Grattepanche JD, Santoferrara LF, McManus GB, Katz LA


Distinct assemblage of planktonic ciliates dominates both photic and deep waters on the New England shelf


Analyses along a transect from the coast of New England to the shelf break revealed the spatial variability of ciliate communities. Using a molecular fingerprinting technique (DGGE), Grattepanche and colleagues observed the geographic pattern of ciliates within the oligotrich and choreotrich clades. These two ciliate clades are abundant and important in marine foodwebs. The analyses revealed two assemblages: one almost everywhere and the other restricted to the offshore area. The two assemblages occurred from the surface to the bottom of the water column, but were not predicted by abiotic factors such as chlorophyll, salinity and temperature.


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