A Hotspot of Amoebae Diversity: 8 New Naked Amoebae Associated with the Planktonic Bloom-forming Cyanobacterium Microcystis

Jeroen van Wichelen,

Sofie d’Hondt,

Myriam Claeys,

Wim Vyverman,

Cédric Berney,

David Bass,

Pieter Vanormelingen


The colonies of Microcystis, one of the most common bloom-forming cyanobacteria worldwide, harbor a diverse community of microorganisms. Among these, naked amoebae feeding on Microcystis cells can strongly influence natural Microcystis population dynamics. In this study, we investigated the species diversity of these amoebae based on 26 Microcystis-associated amoebae (MAA) strains from eutrophied water bodies in Belgium and elsewhere in western Europe. A detailed morphological characterization in combination with 18S rDNA (SSU) phylogenies revealed the presence of no less than 10 species. Nine of these belonged to the known genera Vannella (2 species), Korotnevella (2), Copromyxa (2), Vexillifera (1), Cochliopodium (1) and the recently described Angulamoeba (1). Only two were previously described, the others were new to science. One taxon could not be assigned to a known genus and is here described as Schoutedamoeba gen. n., representing a new variosean lineage. The discovery of so many new species from only one very specific habitat (Microcystis colonies) from a rather restricted geographical area indicates that the diversity of planktonic naked amoebae is much higher than previously appreciated and that only a tiny fraction of the total diversity of naked amoebae is currently known.

Słowa kluczowe: Naked amoebae, Microcystis, morphology, 18S rDNA, harmful algal blooms, grazing, Europe

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