Testate amoebae have proved a useful group of species to understand the biogeography of larger microorganisms. The Arctic has attracted particular interest in such studies but there are large geographic gaps in current knowledge. Here we present what we believe is the first ever study of testate amoebae from the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in Arctic Russia. We investigated testate amoebae from the northernmost island of Novaya Zemlya proper and two smaller islands to the south: Dolgii Island and Matveev Island. We found that testate amoebae were present and active even in the extreme physical environment of northern Novaya Zemlya. Further south in the tundra zone of Dolgii and Matveev islands, testate amoebae were notably abundant and diverse. There were distinct differences in assemblage between all three islands and particularly between Novaya Zemlya and the two more southerly islands. The assemblage of Novaya Zemlya was distinctive with a surprising abundance of larger taxa. Comparisons to previous data suggest that the testate amoeba assemblages of these islands may show more affinity to those further west in Greenland and Svalbard than those further east in Siberia. Results highlight the limited knowledge of the abundance and diversity of these functionally significant protists in large areas of the globe.
Polar Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 8, 2018
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