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Microbial diversity of a nature reserve: eukaryotic microorganisms of Mere Sands Wood in N.W. England

Creevy, Angela Lyn (2013) Microbial diversity of a nature reserve: eukaryotic microorganisms of Mere Sands Wood in N.W. England. Masters thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

The idea of incorporating eukaryotic microorganisms into biological surveys is a new idea in nature conservation. Using Testate amoebae and Diatoms as model organisms, this study aimed at expanding the Wildlife Trust’s knowledge of biodiversity at its Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve by describing and quantifying microbial diversity and distribution using traditional protist taxonomy based on morphology. The methods employed were similar to that adopted in the studies of macroscopic organisms, allowing for a comparison between the diversity of microscopic and previously studied macroscopic organisms.The results of this study highlighted the dramatic increase in species richness estimates by incorporating just two groups of eukaryotic microorganisms. Species richness was a useful measure of diversity and these results were largely consistent with diversity indices. Terrestrial soil and lake sediment microhabitats supported distinct assemblages of testate amoebae and diatom communities which enabled inferences to be made about the potential factors influencing microbial diversity and distribution in terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Lower microbial diversity was found in lake sediment associated with invasive aquatic plants and native monocultures. Taxon richness and diversity varied between different microhabitats and also at the replicate scale within a 1m2 quadrat, further highlighting the small-scale variability in microbial communities. The lack of correlation between different microbial groups demonstrated the complexities in understanding the structure of microbial communities. The relationship between species and genus richness highlighted the potential for using surrogate measures for future rapid biodiversity surveys.The use of evolutionary life strategies in protists is an area for future study which may provide useful insights into nature conservation management for microscopic organisms in habitats prone to disturbance and stress. This study illustrates the potential for incorporating eukaryotic microorganisms into biodiversity surveys. It would be useful to extend this research to other nature reserves and representative habitats using a nested design, facilitating replication and randomisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Testate amoebae, diatom, diversity, distribution, terrestrial, freshwater
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QR Microbiology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 13:46
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2016 13:46
Supervisors: Wilkinson, Dave and Fisher, Jane and Durr, Simone
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4472

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