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Testate amoeba communities of the drained Hula wetland (Israel): implications for ecosystem development and conservation management


This study investigates the testate amoeba communities of semi-aquatic environments in two anthropogenic wetland ecosystems within an extensive drained wetland complex in northern Israel. Aims are to add to the species record for the region, test the similarity in amoeba communities and ecology to more studied sites and regions and investigate processes of wetland development and the implications of this for conservation management. The testate amoeba community is predominantly composed of cosmopolitan taxa but the community composition is distinct from that of previous studies. Redundancy analyses show that much the strongest environmental control is hydrology (depth to water table). Surprisingly, strontium (Sr) is an important secondary control, probably representing the trophic gradient. With a few exceptions the autecology of taxa identified here agrees with their preferences indicated by previous studies. There are significant differences in species richness and community structure between the amoeba communities of the two sites. Partly the difference may be due to differences in nutrient state, although some of the difference is independent of all environmental variables tested here. The lower species richness of the more recently created site suggests the testate amoeba community may be at an earlier successional stage.

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R. J. Payne was supported by a Wyndham Deedes Scholarship and fellowships from the University of Manchester and the Council for British Research in the Levant. Thanks to Lake Agmon administration, JNF (Keren Kayenet Le’Israel) organization, and Israel Nature and National Parks Authority for permission to work on the sites. Figure 1 was prepared by Graham Bowden. Thanks to two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments on a previous version of the paper.

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Correspondence to Richard J. Payne.



See Table 4.

Table 4 Details of unidentified taxa and taxonomic groupings used in this study

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Payne, R.J., Ryan, P.A., Nishri, A. et al. Testate amoeba communities of the drained Hula wetland (Israel): implications for ecosystem development and conservation management. Wetlands Ecol Manage 18, 177–189 (2010).

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  • Protists
  • Peatlands
  • Wetlands
  • Restoration
  • Management
  • Conservation