In field experiments on the transplantation of fragments of natural communities of marine ciliates into an estuary, restoration of the initial or modified species structure was observed after a short period of adaptation of the organisms. Their responses to new conditions included both species-specific reactions and group reactions (the synergistic effect). In a group, species are able to sustain larger amplitudes of variations in environmental factors than if they were separate and they can even occupy extreme biotopes. Under the conditions of the experiment, as well as in nature, a multitude of structural variants of the psammophile community (multivariability of structure) were created from the united pool of species through the recombination of their abundances. In total, the formation and maintenance of communities of unicellular organisms is determined by a complex mechanism that includes physiological (tolerance), population (reproductive properties), cenotic (interspecific interactions), and stochastic (reaction to environmental fluctuations) processes; their relative roles depend on the level of organization of the community (succession stage) and on the range of variations in environmental factors.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 27, 2012
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