Zoological Studies

Vol. 51 No. 2, 2012

Distributions of Testate Amoebae and Ciliates in Different Types of Peatlands and Their Contributions to the Nutrient Supply

Tomasz Mieczan*

Department of Hydrobiology, Univ. of Life Sciences, Dobrzańskiego 37, Lublin 20-262, Poland

Tomasz Mieczan (2012) The influence of plant communities on the structure, abundance, and biomass of testate amoebae and ciliates were investigated in bog and fens in eastern Poland. Samples were collected in belts of Sphagnum, Phragmites, Carex, Utricularia, and Calliergonella. Sampling was done on a monthly basis from Apr. to Nov. 2009. Comparisons of species numbers, abundances, and biomass levels of testate amoebae and ciliates between Sphagnum mosses did not show statistically significant differences. In carbonate fens, the average species numbers, abundances, and biomass levels of testate amoebae and ciliates for Sphagnum, Calliergonella, and Utricularia were higher than those for Phragmites and Carex. Based on differences in plant stem structure, 2 groups of habitats were distinguished. The 1st group consisted of 2 vegetated zones with a sparse stem structure (Phragmites and Carex), while the 2nd group consisted of plant species with a decidedly more-complicated structure (Sphagnum, Calliergonella, and Utricularia). The results demonstrated that water table depth, pH, and concentrations of total phosphorus and total organic carbon strongly regulated the taxonomic composition and abundances of protozoa. Rates of excretion of ammonia-nitrogen and phosphate-phosphorus proportionally decreased with an increase in body weight. In experiments dominated by small protozoa, excreted amounts were significantly higher than in experiments dominated by higher taxa. Average net excretion rates per protozoon of nitrogen ranged 1.0 10-5 - 3.72 10-5 g/h and of phosphorus ranged 6.5 10-6 - 1.2 10-5 g/h.

Key words: Wetlands, Protozoa, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Excretion.

*Correspondence: Tel: 48-81-4610061 ext. 306. Fax: 48-81-4610061 ext. 304. E-mail:tomasz.mieczan@up.lublin.pl