Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Elucidating the relationship between ciliate communities in the benthos and the plankton is critical to understanding ciliate diversity in marine systems. Although data for many lineages are sparse, at least some members of the dominant marine ciliate clades Oligotrichia and Choreotrichia can be found in both plankton and benthos, in the latter either as cysts or active forms. In this study, we developed a molecular approach to address the relationship between the diversity of ciliates in the plankton and those of the underlying benthos in the same locations. Samples from plankton and sediments were compared across three sites along the New England coast, and additional subsamples were analyzed to assess reproducibility of methods. We found that sediment and plankton subsamples differed in their robustness to repeated subsampling. Sediment subsamples (i.e., 1-g aliquots from a single ∼20-g sample) gave variable estimates of diversity, while plankton subsamples produced consistent results. These results indicate the need for additional study to determine the spatial scale over which diversity varies in marine sediments. Clustering of phylogenetic types indicates that benthic assemblages of oligotrichs and choreotrichs appear to be more like those from spatially remote benthic communities than the ciliate communities sampled in the water above them.
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Doherty, Mary; Tamura, Maiko; Vriezen, Jan A.C.; McManus, George B.; and Katz, Laura A., "Diversity of Oligotrichia and Choreotrichia Ciliates in Coastal Marine Sediments and in Overlying Plankton" (2010). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.