Marine Amebae From Clean and Stressed Bottom Sediments of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico,,



    1. U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Center, Oxford Laboratory, Oxford, Maryland 21654
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  • Presented as part of a Symposium. “The Ecology of Free-living Protozoa,” held during the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Protozoologists. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, in August 1979.

  • This investigation was supported in part by the Marine Ecosystems Analysis. New York Bight Project.

  • This paper is dedicated to Dr. Asa C. Schaeffer, on his 95th birthday, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to our knowledge of systematics and ecology of the naked amebae.


SYNOPSIS Amebae isolated from sediments of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico were maintained in continuous culture and most were identified to genus and species. Twenty-six species representing 12 genera were recognized from existing literature and several others (Flabellula, Mastigamoeba, Cochliopododium) were identified only to genus. One ameboflagellate and several small limax-type amebae which require further study also were isolated. Other sarcodmids belonging to the Heliozoida, Testocida, Leptomyxida, and Proteomyxida were identified only tentatively. the distribution of the amebae and ameba-like organisms was tabulated for the following geographic areas: Atlantic Ocean near Long Island, New York: Atlantic Ocean 16-65 miles offshore from New York and New Jersey: Atlantic Ocean 1-50 miles offshore from Maryland and Delaware: and the Gulf of Mexico 3.5-41 miles offshore from the southeastern United States. Amebae present in shellfish holding trays at Lewis. Delaware, were isolated, and identified to compare the distribution of species in laboratory tanks with those present in natural ocean bottoms. Published accounts of each collection site were reviewed to obtain specific data on contamination with sewage wastes, acid wastes, dredge spoils, and petroleum hydrocarbons. Two previously undescribed amebae were found to represent new genera and species and are described herein, one from the Delaware mariculture facility, and the other from the digestive tract of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, and the gill surface of the lady crab, Ovalipes ocellatus. Sarcodinids present in clean or stressed environments were listed, and genera and species that were widespread or apparently geographically restricted were recorded.