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Microbial Ecology

, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 1014–1024 | Cite as

Small-scale Variation of Testate Amoeba Assemblages: the Effect of Site Heterogeneity and Empty Shell Inclusion

  • Zuzana LizoňováEmail author
  • Marie Zhai
  • Jindřiška Bojková
  • Michal Horsák
Soil Microbiology

Abstract

Studies on testate amoeba species distribution at small scales (i.e., single peatland sites) are rare and mostly focus on bogs or mineral-poor Sphagnum fens, leaving spatial patterns within mineral-rich fens completely unexplored. In this study, two mineral-rich fen sites of contrasting groundwater chemistry and moss layer composition were selected for the analysis of testate amoeba compositional variance within a single site. At each study site, samples from 20 randomly chosen moss-dominated plots were collected with several environmental variables being measured at each sampling spot. We also distinguished between empty shells and living individuals to evaluate the effect of empty shell inclusion on recorded species distribution. At the heterogeneous-rich Sphagnum-fen, a clear composition turnover in testate amoebae between Sphagnum-dominated and brown moss-dominated samples was closely related to water pH, temperature and redox potential. We also found notable species composition variance within the homogeneous calcareous fen, yet it was not as high as for the former site and the likely drivers of community assembly remained unidentified. The exclusion of empty shells provided more accurate data on species distribution as well as their relationship with some environmental variables, particularly moisture. Small-scale variability in species composition of communities seems to be a worthwhile aspect in testate amoeba research and should be considered in future sampling strategies along with a possible empty shell bias for more precise understanding of testate amoeba ecology and paleoecology.

Keywords

Testate amoebae Fens Peatlands Empty shells Small-scale variability 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Special thanks goes to Eva Kristová for her help with the field and laboratory work as well as the moss identification, to Anna Šímová for her help with testate amoeba taxonomy, and to Ondřej Hájek for his help with GIS and the study site map. For technical and laboratory support, we would like to thank Marcela Růžičková and Zuzana Formánková. Also, we would like to thank the reviewers for their comments and suggestions that helped to improve the manuscript.

Funding Information

This study was supported by the institutional support for Ph.D. students at the Masaryk University and the Czech Science Foundation (project no. P505/16-03881S).

Supplementary material

248_2018_1292_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 20 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

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