Spatial and temporal distribution of free-living protozoa in aquatic environments of a Brazilian semi-arid region

Maria Luisa Quinino de Medeiros, Magnólia Fernandes Florêncio Araújo, Luiz Sodré Neto, Aline de Souza Amorim


Free-living protozoa organisms are distributed in aquatic environments and vary widely in both qualitative and quantitative terms. The unique ecological functions they exhibit in their habitats help to maintain the dynamic balance of these environments. Despite their wide range and abundance, studies on geographical distribution and ecology, when compared to other groups, are still scarce. This study aimed to identify and record the occurrence of free-living protozoa at three points in Piancó-Piranhas-Açu basin, in a semi-arid area of Rio Grande do Norte (RN) state, and to relate the occurrence of taxa with variations in chlorophyll a, pH and temperature in the environments. Samples were collected in the Armando Ribeiro Gonçalves Dam, from two lentic environments upstream and a lotic ecosystem downstream. Sixty-five taxa of free-living protozoa were found. The Student's t-test showed significant inter-variable differences (p <0.05). Similar protozoan species were recorded under different degrees of trophic status according to chlorophyll a concentrations, suggesting the organisms identified are not ideal for indicating trophic level. We hypothesize that food availability, the influence of lentic and lotic systems and the presence of aquatic macrophytes influenced protozoan dynamics during the study period.


Planktonic microorganisms, reservoirs; biodiversity

Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X  DOI:10.4136/1980-993X



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