Ecology of Protozoa: The Biology of Free-living Phagotropic by Tom Fenchel

By Tom Fenchel

This publication is written for ecologists and protozoologists. Ecologists who learn environments and biotic groups within which protozoa are im ponant may still locate this e-book in particular helpful. over the last decade it has turn into transparent that protozoa play vital roles in ordinary eco structures, yet few ecologists have a sense for the useful houses and the range of those organisms. Protozoa pose or exemplify many basic difficulties of inhabitants and group ecology, and of evo lutionary biology. In such a lot respects the final ecological propenies of protozoa will not be essentially various from these of bigger organisms; but, as a result of their small measurement, brief new release instances, and ubiquitous oc currence they generally current ecological phenomena in a brand new and dif ferent mild. To this could be additional that protozoa are well-suited for experimental paintings. regardless of those benefits, the examine of protozoa has performed a comparatively modest function within the improvement of ecology and ev olutionary biology, basically, i think, simply because so much ecologists are strange with those organisms. i'm hoping this booklet will allure extra recognition to those favorable features of protozoa. I additionally wish that this ebook could make protozoologists conscious of new facets in their puppy organisms. for a very long time (that is, till the thrill damental contrast among prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells used to be rec ognized) protozoa have been believed to symbolize the easiest type of existence. They have been consequently broadly used for the experimental learn of simple questions of telephone biology.

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Extra resources for Ecology of Protozoa: The Biology of Free-living Phagotropic Protists

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1. For any one species Fmand Um are functions of particle quality. In particular, particle size affects both the efficiency of retention and the rate of phagocytosis. The "volume-specific clearance," that is, clearance divided by cell volume, is often a useful number, since it allows a comparison of clearance values between different-sized organisms. If the clearance of an organism has been determined and the particle concentration in the natural environment is known, it is possible to estimate the consumption rate in nature.

8), which at least in one case, namely, loxodid ciliates, is due to a direct response to oxygen. 3 Orientation in the environment 29 becomes totally anoxic these ciliates migrate up into the water column. Loxodes is a microaerophilic species which prefers oxygen tensions around 5 percent atmospheric pressure. The response to oxygen is complex. At 0 2 levels exceeding the optimum, the cells become positively geotactic (see below) and they also increase swimming speed and suppress tumbling. A sudden increase in the 0 2 level induces an avoidance reaction.

For discussion of the photoresponses of Euglena and of other photosynthetic protists, see Foster & Smyth (1980) and Pill-Soon & Walker (1981). Mechanoreception is common in protozoa and ciliates in particular often show ciliary reversals if they collide with solid objects. Cilia have long been thought to play the role of mechanoreceptors, especially the immobile cilia, such as the short, bristle-like forms on the dorsal side of Euplotes (Figure 1. 2). However, it is now known that the cilia only act as levers and that the transduction of the mechanical signal is actually due to mechanical deformation of the cell membrane, which leads to a change in membrane potential and thus to a locomotor response.

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