Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Spatial Distribution of Marine Ciliates: Micro‐Ecologic and Biogeographic Aspects of Protozoan Ecology


SYNOPSIS Free‐living marine ciliates occur in the interstitial spaces of a wide vareity of filamentous and particulate substrata, on the surfaces of planar substrata, and in the plankton. In addition, they are found in association with a wide variety of plant and animal hosts. In this paper I review the progress during the past decade in understanding the distribution of marine ciliates, with particular emphasis on the relationship between ciliate biogeography and the species problem. It is concluded that as a general rule among marine ciliates, genera and species complexes are cosmopolitan. Specific locales may support a confusing array of sibling species or subspecific morphologic variants. Because the distributional processes and breeding biology of marine ciliates are only beginning to be understood, conventional ideas that marine ciliate species are cosmopolitan may require modification.

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The Journal of Protozoology

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