Microbial Ecology

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 91–100 | Cite as

Seasonal Influences on the Ecology of Testate Amoebae (Protozoa) in a Small Sphagnum peatland in Southern Ontario, Canada

  • Barry G. WarnerEmail author
  • Taro Asada
  • Noel P. Quinn


Testate amoebae (Protozoa) were studied in spring, summer, and fall from the same microhabitats in a small Sphagnum-dominated peatland in southern Ontario, Canada. A total of 32 sampling stations were established in two wetland plant communities, 19 in an open Ericaceae low-shrub community and 13 in a closed Picea mariana and Larix laricina swamp community. Sphagnum was collected in each station for analysis of testate amoebae and measurement of soil water content parameters and water table depth in May, August, and October 2001. pH and dissolved oxygen of the groundwater under the Sphagnum were measured also. A total of 52 taxa including the rotifer, Habrotrocha angusticollis, were identified. Soil water content and water table variables emerged as the primary factors separating testate amoebae between the open bog/fen community and swamp community. Testate amoebae in the open bog/fen community showed a clear separation between the May sampling period and the August and October sampling periods. Sampling stations in May had much higher water table and were wetter than those in August and October. Conversely, testate amoebae in the swamp community did not show a clear difference between sampling periods. Soil moisture and water tables appear to be more constant in the swamp communities. Biological factors or other microscale environmental factors may need to be considered to explain seasonal changes in testate amoebae. A greater understanding of relationships between testate amoebae and microenvironmental factors is necessary to track seasonality in testate amoebae distributions.


Water Table Soil Moisture Condition Testate Amoeba Water Table Position Kettle Hole 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. 1.
    Bastien, D-F, Garneau, M (1997) Macroscopic identification key of 36 Sphagnum species in eastern Canada. Geological Survey of Canada Miscellaneous Report 61. Natural Resources Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bobrov, AA, Charman, DJ, Warner, BG (1999) Ecology of testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) on peatlands in western Russia with special attention to niche separation in closely related taxa. Protist 150: 125–136PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bobrov, AA, Yazvenko, SB, Warner, BG (1995) Taxonomic and ecological implications of shell morphology of three testaceans (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in Russia and Canada. Arch Protistenkd 145: 119–126Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Booth, RK (2002) Testate amoebae as paleoindicators of surface-moisture changes on Michigan peatlands: modern ecology and hydrological calibration. J Paleolimnol 28: 329–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Booth, RK, Zygmunt, R (2005) Biogeography and comparative ecology of testate amoebae inhabiting Sphagnum-dominated peatlands in the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain regions of North America. Divers Distrib 11: 577–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Borcard, D, Legendre, P, Drapeau, P (1992) Partialling out the spatial component of ecological variation. Ecology 73: 1045–1055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Campbell, DR, Duthie, HC, Warner, BG (1997) Post-glacial development of a kettle-hole peatland in southern Ontario. Ecoscience 4: 404–418Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Charman, DJ (2001) Biostratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental applications of testate amoebae. Quat Sci Rev 20: 1753–1764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Charman, DJ, Hendon, D, Woodland, WA (2000) The identification of testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in peats. Quaternary Research Association, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Charman, DJ, Warner, BG (1992) Relationship between testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) and microenvironmental parameters on a forested peatland in northeastern Ontario. Can J Zool 70: 2474–2482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Charman, DJ, Warner, BG (1997) The ecology of testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in oceanic peatlands in Newfoundland, Canada: Modelling hydrological relationships for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Ecoscience 4: 555–562Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Corbet, SA (1973) An illustrated introduction to the testate rhizopods in Sphagnum, with special reference to the area around Malham Tarn, Yorkshire. Field Stud 3: 801–838Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Crum, H (1984) North American Flora. Sphagnopsida—Sphagnaceae. The New York Botanical Garden, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Environment Canada (2006) Canadian climate normals, 1971–2000. Atmospheric Service, Environment Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Foissner, W (1999) Soil protozoa as bioindicators: Pros and cons, methods, diversity, representative samples. Agric Ecosyst Environ 74: 95–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Heal, OW (1962) The abundance and microdistribution of testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in Sphagnum. Oikos 13: 35–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Heal, OW (1964) Observations on the seasonal and spatial distribution of testacea (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in Sphagnum. J Anim Ecol 33: 395–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hendon, D, Charman, DJ (1997) The preparation of testate amoebae (Protozoa:Rhizopoda): Samples from peat. Holocene 7: 199–205Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hill, MO, Gauch, HG (1980) Detrended correspondence analysis: an improved ordination technique. Vegetatio 42: 47–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hotelling, H (1933) Analysis of a complex of statistical variables into principal components. J Educ Psychol 24: 417–441, 498–520Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Karrow, PF (1987) Pleistocene Geology of the Hamilton-Cambridge Area, Southern Ontario: Ontario Geological Survey, Mines and Minerals Division, Report 255, pp 94Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lee, J (2000) Illustrated guide to the Protozoa. 2nd edition. Society of Protozoologists, Lawrence, Kansas, pp 1432Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Leps, J, Smilauer, P (2003) Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Meisterfeld, R (1977) Die horizontale and vertikale Verteilung der Testaceen (Rhizopoden, Testacea) in Sphagnum. Arch Hydrobiol 79: 319–450Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mitchell, EAD (2004) Response of testate amoebae (Protozoa) to N and P fertilization in an Arctic wet sedge tundra. Arct Antarct Alp Res 36: 78–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mitchell, EAD, Buttler, AJ, Warner, BG, Gobat, JM (1999) Ecology of testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in Sphagnum peatlands in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland and France. Ecoscience 6: 565–576Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mitchell, EAD, Charman, DJ, Warner, BG (2006) Testate amoebae analysis in ecological and paleoecological studies of wetlands: past, present and future. Biodiversity and Conservation (in press)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Mitchell, EAD, Meisterfeld, R (2005) Taxonomic confusion blurs the debate on cosmopolitanism versus local endemism of free-living Protists. Protist 156: 263–267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Nguyen-Viet, H, Gilbert, D, Bernard, N, Mitchell, EAD, Badot, P-M (2004) Relationship between atmospheric pollution characterized by NO2 concentrations and testate amoebae abundance and diversity. Acta Protozool 43: 233–239Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ogden, CG, Hedley, RH (1980) An atlas of freshwater testate amoebae. British Museum of Natural History, LondonGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Schönborn, W (1963) Die stratigraphie lebender Testaceen im Sphagnum der Hochmoore. Limnologica 1: 315–321Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    ter Braak, CJF (1986) Canonical correspondence analysis: a new eigenvector technique for multivariate direct gradient analysis. Ecology 67: 1167–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    ter Braak, CJF, Smilauer, P (2002) CANOCO Reference Manual and CanoDraw for Windows User’s Guide. Software for Canonical Community Ordination (version 4.5). Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, NYGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Tolonen, K, Warner, BG, Vasander, H (1992) Ecology of testaceans (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in mires in southern Finland. 1. Autecology. Arch Protistenkd 142: 119–138Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Tolonen, K, Warner, BG, Vasander, H (1994) Ecology of testaceans (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in mires in southern Finland. 2. Multivariate analysis. Arch Protistenkd 144: 97–112Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wanner, M (1999) A review on the variability of testate amoebae: Methodological approaches, environmental influences and taxonomical implications. Acta Protozool 38: 15–29Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Warner, BG (1987) Abundance and diversity of testate amoebae (Rhizopoda, Testacea) in Sphagnum peatlands in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Arch Protistenkd 133: 173–189Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Warner, BG, Chengalath, R (1988) Holocene fossil Habrotrocha angusticollis (Bdelloidea: Rotifera) in North America. J Paleolimnol 1: 141–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Warner BG, Chmielewski, JG (1992) Testate amoebae (Protozoa) as indicators of drainage in a forested mire, northern Ontario, Canada Arch Protistenkd 141: 179–183Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wilkinson, DM (2001) What is the upper size limit for cosmopolitan distribution in free-living microorganisms? J Biogeogr 28: 285–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wetlands Research GroupUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations