Ciliates and the Rare Biosphere—Community Ecology and Population Dynamics
Article first published online: 6 JUN 2014
© 2014 The Authors The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society of Protistologists.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Volume 61, Issue 4, pages 419–433, July/August 2014
How to Cite
Weisse, T. (2014), Ciliates and the Rare Biosphere—Community Ecology and Population Dynamics. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 61: 419–433. doi: 10.1111/jeu.12123
- Issue published online: 4 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 6 JUN 2014
- Accepted manuscript online: 7 MAY 2014 04:37AM EST
- Manuscript Revised: 9 APR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 APR 2014
- Manuscript Received: 4 FEB 2014
- Austrian Science Fund. Grant Numbers: P16796-B06, P20118-B17, P20360-B17
- Background fauna;
- microbial networks;
- permanently rare species;
- sampling effort;
- specialist fauna;
- species richness relationships;
- typical habitats
Application of deep sequencing technologies to environmental samples and some detailed morphological studies suggest that there is a vast, yet unexplored rare ciliate biosphere, tentatively defined in terms of operational taxonomic units. However, very few studies complemented molecular and phylogenetic data with morphological and ecological descriptions of the species inventory. This is mainly because the sampling effort increases strongly with decreasing species abundance. In spite of this limited knowledge, it is clear that species that are rare under certain environmental conditions (temporal rare biosphere) may become abundant when the physical, chemical, and biological variables of their habitat change. Furthermore, some species may always be present in low numbers if their dispersal rates are exceedingly high (accidental rare biosphere). An intriguing question is whether there are some species that are always rare, i.e., in every suitable environment. This permanent rare biosphere is conceptually different from the temporal rare biosphere. This review characterizes typical aquatic habitats of the rare ciliate biosphere, portrays different scenarios under which some or even many species may be permanently rare (background fauna), and identifies some fundamental questions that need to be addressed to achieve a better understanding of the population dynamics of the rare ciliate biosphere.