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Local versus global diversity of microorganisms: cryptic diversity of ciliated protozoa
Fenchel, T.; Esteban, G.; Finlay, B.J. (1997). Local versus global diversity of microorganisms: cryptic diversity of ciliated protozoa. Oikos (Kbh.) 80(2): 220-225
In: Oikos (København). Munksgaard: Copenhagen. ISSN 0030-1299, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Biogeography; Community composition; Sediments; Species diversity; Protozoa [WoRMS]; Marine; Fresh water

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  • Fenchel, T., more
  • Esteban, G.
  • Finlay, B.J.

    Microbial species diversity, both global and local, is still poorly understood. In this study all species of ciliated protozoa were recorded microscopically from similar to 1 cm2 sediment collected from a small lake and from a marine shallow-water bay. Additional adjacent sediment samples (together representing <50 cm2)) were then incubated under a variety of culture conditions to reveal "cryptic species" that are present as resting cysts or are too rare to be found microscopically. About 85 and 57% of the total number of observed species from the limnic and marine sediment, respectively, were such cryptic species. In both cases the number of species found in <50 cm2 of sediment represented about 75% of all ciliate species ever recorded from these two previously well-studied habitats, and about 8% of all named free-living ciliates. These observations support the assumption that in the case of microorganisms "everything is everywhere" and that their global species diversity is relatively limited.

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