Diversity and activity of heterotrophic protozoa in soil

Unicellular predatory eukaryotes are essential in soil ecosystems as they regulate and shape the bacterial populations, further these organisms are of particular evolutionary interest, as they represent archetypical eukaryote.

We investigate their diversity and how they affect the soil system. We often meet undescribed species and we have described several species and genera new to science.

Otto terricolus

The figures show the bacterial feeding flagellate Otto terricolus. A and B shows actively swimming flagellates, they use the flagella to catch bacteria. The letters cr points to the crest characteristic of these flagellates. C is a cyst. The flagellate can form an anhydrobiotic resting cyst and can survive for decades in this condition. We found the flagellate in agricultural soil in Foulum, and combined molecular and electron microscopic studies showed that it was not only a new species but also a new genus. Scale bar: 3 µm. From Harder Ekelund Karpov (2014) Protist 165, 144–160.


Name Title Phone E-mail
Flemming Ekelund Associate Professor +45 5182 7041 E-mail
Kristian Holst Laursen Assistant professor +45 3533 3728 E-mail
Mette Vestergård Madsen Researcher +45 8715 8121 E-mail
Rute da Fonseca Associate professor E-mail


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Project period: xxx 2020 - xxx 2025


Associate Professor
Flemming Ekelund
Terrestrial Ecology Section
Universitetsparken 15
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø

Phone:  +45 51 82 70 41
Mobile: +45 22 43 63 01

Student projects

Contact Flemming Ekelund for more information on BSc, MSc and PhD student projects under this research project.