Distribution and diversity of soil protozoa in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica


The polar desert soils of the McMurdo Dry Valley region support a limited water film community dominated by flagellates, amoebae, and nematodes. This study describes the protozoa and compares their distribution to nematodes. In 50 samples collected from 12 locations, rotifers and tardigrades were infrequent, and ciliates and testacea were rare. Soil protozoa occurred at all sites but the dominant nematode, Scottnema lindsayae (Timm 1971), did not, indicating soil habitat factors limiting nematode distribution are not limiting to protozoa. In contrast to the nematode species, which are all endemic to Antarctica, there were no endemic protozoan morphospecies found in our samples. The protozoan abundance was several orders of magnitude greater than that of the nematodes, and the species diversity was much greater. Most of the protozoa grew better at lower incubation temperatures. The ubiquitous distribution of protozoa suggests their importance in soil food webs and nutrient cycling in the dry valleys.

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-005-0006-4

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@article{Bamforth2005DistributionAD, title={Distribution and diversity of soil protozoa in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica}, author={Stuart S. Bamforth and Diana H Wall and Ross A. Virginia}, journal={Polar Biology}, year={2005}, volume={28}, pages={756-762} }