Microbial species diversity, both global and local, is still poorly understood. In this study all species of ciliated protozoa were recorded microscopically from ∼ 1 cm2 sediment collected from a small lake and from a marine shallow-water bay. Additional adjacent sediment samples (together representing < 50 cm2) were then incubated under a variety of culture conditions to reveal "cryptic species" that are present as resting cysts or are too rare to be found microscopically. About 85 and 57% of the total number of observed species from the limnic and marine sediment, respectively, were such cryptic species. In both cases the number of species found in < 50 cm2 of sediment represented about 75% of all ciliate species ever recorded from these two previously well-studied habitats, and about 8% of all named free-living ciliates. These observations support the assumption that in the case of microorganisms "everything is everywhere" and that their global species diversity is relatively limited.
Oikos is a journal issued by the Nordic Ecological Society and is one of the leading peer-reviewed journals in ecology. Oikos publishes original and innovative research on all aspects of ecology. Emphasis is on theoretical and empirical work aimed at generalization and synthesis across taxa, systems and ecological disciplines. Papers should be well founded in ecological theory and contribute to new developments in ecology by reporting novel theory or critical experimental results. Confirming or extending the established literature is given less priority. Synthesis of new and emerging fields in ecology and beyond is encouraged. Papers of review character should should strive for conceptual unification and being a point of departure for future work rather that restrospective summaries of established fields or topics.
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