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Protists in soil ecology and forest nutrient cycling M.S. Adl and V.V.S.R. Gupta
 

Summary: Protists in soil ecology and forest nutrient cycling
M.S. Adl and V.V.S.R. Gupta
Abstract: Recent progress in protistology has shown that these organisms (protists) are far more diverse than tradition-
ally assumed by soil ecologists. Most studies have grouped these into motility groups, as amoebae, flagellates, and cili-
ates. Unfortunately, these do not represent functionally useful groups and do not have any ecological relevance to food
web processes and community structure. Typically, abundance values have relied on the most probable number estimate
based on bacterivore cultures. In fact, there are many functional groups of protists besides the bacterivores. These other
functional groups are very much part of the forest soil decomposition food web, but they remain unaccounted for in
models. Modelling studies have shown repeatedly that protozoan bacterivores are responsible for much of the nutrient
turnover and flux through the soil food web, as they are in the aquatic microbial loop. The contribution of other protist
functional groups to this nutrient cycling remains to be quantified. To this end, new sampling strategies are required,
and functional diversity needs to be considered in future studies. We consider both temporal and spatial stratification as
contributing factors, to explain the apparent redundancy of function. Finally, drawing on data from agricultural fields,
we consider new ideas on rates of recovery after disturbance.
Résumé : Les progrès récents accomplis dans l'étude des protistes ont montré que ces organismes sont beaucoup plus
diversifiés que l'ont traditionnellement assumé les écologistes du sol. La plupart des études ont regroupé ces organis-
mes en fonction de leur motilité : les amibes, les flagellés et les ciliés. Malheureusement, ces regroupements ne sont
pas utiles du point de vue fonctionnel et n'ont aucun rapport du point de vue écologique avec les processus du réseau
trophique et la structure des communautés. Les valeurs d'abondance ont généralement été établies à partir d'estimations
du nombre le plus probable basées sur la culture des protistes qui se nourrissent de bactéries. En fait, il y a plusieurs

  

Source: Adl, Sina - Department of Biology, Dalhousie University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology