Diversity of Testate Amoebae as an Indicator of the Conservation Status of Peatlands in Southwest Europe

Ano: 2021

Diversity 202113(6), 269.


Autores/as: Carballeira, R.; Pontevedra-Pombal, X.


Testate amoebae are one of the most studied groups of microorganisms in Sphagnum peatland ecosystems and, therefore, one of the most reliable bioindicators of their ecological status. Peatland ecosystems are supported by a delicate biogeochemical balance that leads to the formation of peat, one of the main sinks of C, as a result of soil–atmosphere interaction, but currently they are one of the most threatened wetland types at their southern distribution limit. In the European continent, where climatic conditions limit peat formation, they have endured significant anthropic pressure for centuries, and the risk of loss of biodiversity linked to these ecosystems is critical. In addition, peatlands are poorly known ecosystems in the Iberian Peninsula compared with other wetlands; therefore, we have studied the chemical parameters of water and the diversity patterns of testate amoebae in the western Iberian Peninsula to better understand the current status of these ecosystems. The analysis of testate amoeba communities showed an inverse relationship between the diversity and conservation status of these peatlands, both in relation to chemical parameters (i.e., pH, electrical conductivity, phosphates) and to the proportion of anthropized area, with a marked geographical pattern in the degree of anthropogenic disturbance.

Xabier Pontevedra Pombal

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