The Ciliate Assemblage in Alte Donau

  • Gerald Pfister
Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 10)


Within the framework of a comprehensive limnological survey of the shallow urban lake Alte Donau in Vienna (Austria), the pelagic ciliate assemblage has been continuously investigated throughout the years 1995–2000. The application of a quantitative protargol stain (QPS) resulted in accurate data on ciliate species composition, as well as reliable abundance and biomass numbers. The main ciliate groups throughout the investigated period were identified as oligotrichs, prostomatids and small hymenostomes, thus composing the so-called Oligotrichetea – a ubiquitous and typical ciliate community found also in many other comparable beta- to alpha-mesosaprobic pelagic environments. Significant seasonal variations in ciliate abundance and biomass occurred, revealing lowest numbers during autumn and winter. Despite the overall species composition being relatively unaltered during the investigated years, absolute ciliate numbers and biomasses were high at the beginning of the investigated period during the years of chemical RIPLOX-treatment and decreased by more than 50% in the last 2 years of the study. This decrease of ciliate numbers and biomass parallels thus the significant decrease of nutrients in the water body as a result of phosphorus precipitation in 1995 and 1996, followed by several restoration measures carried out during the years 1998–1999. Thus, lowest ciliate abundance and biomass occurred in the last year of restoration and slightly increased again with the re-colonization of macrophytes the year after.


Protozoa Pelagic ciliates Bioindicators Oligotrichs Prostomatids Hymenostomes Oxbow lake Lake restoration Riplox Eutrophic Mesotrophic 



Many people in Mondsee and Vienna have contributed and helped during the years of this survey. I want to address my special thanks to Martin T. Dokulil, who initiated this project and brought me on-board during the initial years, and for his generous support throughout the project. Thank you also to Arnold Nauwerck who was director of the Institute of Limnology in Mondsee during the first years of the survey, for supporting me with material, advice and infrastructure. Thomas Posch, Bettina Sonntag, Karl Donabaum and Monika Grossschartner are greatly acknowledged for lots of help with coordination of sampling, sample preparation and protocol optimization. Last, but not least, Katrin Teubner is to be acknowledged to have taken over the final push and responsibility for publication as well as for valuable input and comments in finalizing this manuscript.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Pfister
    • 1
  1. 1.Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI)Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)DohaQatar

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