Ecology of Testate Amoebae in Moorland with a Complex Fire History: Implications for Ecosystem Monitoring and Sustainable Land Management

T. Edward Turner, Graeme T. Swindles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    29 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Testate amoebae represent a crucial component of soil microfauna and have been studied extensively in ombrotrophic peatlands. However, little is known about their ecology in moorlands which are important habitats in terms of biodiversity and carbon storage potential. Moorlands are under threat from a range of factors such as drainage, burning, over grazing, pollution and climate change. In this study we investigate testate amoebae communities within three zones of a UK moorland characterised by contrasting fire histories, and use these data to examine the potential of testate amoebae as environmental bioindicators in moorlands. Although several factors control testate amoebae communities in moorlands, it is clear that there are marked differences in testate amoebae communities between the zones which primarily relate to hydrological status, influenced by fire regime. The taxon Hyalosphenia subflava is a clear indicator of severe disturbance as it was found to be abundant in mosses which colonised a hydrophobic peat surface following a severe wild-fire event. Testate amoebae have much potential for ecosystem monitoring of moorlands which can inform sustainable land management practices.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)844-855
    Number of pages12
    JournalProtist
    Volume163
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2012

    Keywords

    • Environmental management
    • Fire
    • Hyalosphenia subflava
    • Monitoring
    • Moorland
    • Testate amoebae
    • UK.

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Microbiology

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