Journal article

Vertical micro-distribution and response to nitrogen deposition of testate amoebae in Sphagnum

Previous studies have shown the existence of a vertical micro-distribution of testate amoebae in the first centimeters of Sphagnum and their response to nutrient enrichment. In order to test the response of testate amoebae to depth and N addition in dry moss carpets recolonizing cutover peatlands, we sampled Sphagnum that had received 0, 1, 3, or 10g N m22 yr21 for three years. The mosses were cut into three segments: 0–1cm, 1–3cm and 3–5cm and analyzed for testate amoebae. The overall diversity (22 taxa) was high considering the dryness of the site, but the species richness of individual samples was low (mean 6.6). The presence of several species characteristic of wetter conditions suggests that they have a broader tolerance than usually believed and/or have a high colonization potential. Species richness increased with depth. Assulina muscorum was most abundant in the top segment, while Phryganella acropodia, Heleopera rosea and Nebela militaris were most abundant in the deepest segment. Neither the metabolism type nor the shell characteristics significantly explained the vertical distribution of species. There was no overall response of testate amoebae to N, although one species, Bullinularia indica, was significantly more abundant in the fertilized than in the control plots.


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