, Volume 773, Issue 1, pp 117–134 | Cite as

Drivers of highly diverse planktonic ciliate assemblages in peat bog pools from Tierra del Fuego (Argentina)

  • G. C. KüppersEmail author
  • G. C. González Garraza
  • M. V. Quiroga
  • R. Lombardo
  • M. C. Marinone
  • A. Vinocur
  • G. Mataloni
Primary Research Paper


Peatlands often encompass shallow pools, wherein dystrophic and colored acid waters host a remarkably diverse biota, with ciliates likely playing a key role in their short trophic webs. In the Sphagnum magellanicum-dominated Rancho Hambre peat bog, a 2-year study was conducted in five pools with different morphometric and trophic characteristics, in order to identify main environmental variables driving ciliate species richness, abundance, biomass, and diversity. Overall species richness (125 taxa) was much higher than in northern Hemisphere counterparts. Deep minerotrophic pools hosted the richest communities, showing similar seasonal abundance patterns and the highest species turnover. Although all pools shared the same dominant ciliates, similarity in taxonomic composition among them was generally low (J = 0.22–0.35). Moreover, IndVal analysis showed that rare and occasional species were highly indicative of different pools. Euryoecious, heterotrophic species, occurred in all sites, while mixotrophs were typical from shallow ombrotrophic pools. Rimostrombidium hyalinum was the most indicative species of a deep ombrotrophic pool. A CCA revealed that the abundances of potential ciliate preys, i.e., picophytoplankton, bacterioplankton, and heterotrophic flagellates, were the most significant regulators of abundances of this group. Therefore, ciliate structure and dynamics were influenced by pool morphometry and physical and chemical features, but foremost by interactions with other plankton communities.


Planktonic ciliates Diversity IndVal Peat bog pools Tierra del Fuego 



The Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 2006 1697) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas are greatly acknowledged for financial support. The authors thank the Dirección Provincial de Recursos Hídricos de la Provincia de Tierra del Fuego and the Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (CADIC-CONICET) for most valuable logistic support. Ciliate countings were performed at the Instituto de Limnología Dr. R. A. Ringuelet. Copepod identifications were possible due to the valuable help of Silvina Menu Marque, who also commented the draft version of the manuscript. We are also grateful to Rodolfo Iturraspe and Sergio Camargo for helping during the field work and to everyone that participated in the surveys. Finally, we would like to thank the reviewers for comments and suggestions that improved this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. Küppers
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. C. González Garraza
    • 2
  • M. V. Quiroga
    • 3
  • R. Lombardo
    • 4
  • M. C. Marinone
    • 5
  • A. Vinocur
    • 4
    • 5
  • G. Mataloni
    • 2
  1. 1.División InvertebradosMuseo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino RivadaviaBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigación e Ingeniería Ambiental (3iA)Universidad Nacional de San MartínSan MartínArgentina
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Ecología y Fotobiología Acuática, Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnológicas-Instituto Tecnológico de Chascomús (IIB-INTECH)UNSAM-CONICETChascomúsArgentina
  4. 4.Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución (DEGE), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos Aires, Pabellón II, Ciudad Universitaria, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  5. 5.Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Experimental (DBBE), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos Aires, Pabellón II, Ciudad Universitaria, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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