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.

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.