Inventory of the taxonomical composition of the plankton ciliates in the Curonian Lagoon (SE Baltic Sea)

Research paper by Evelina Grinienė, Stasė Mažeikaitė, Zita Rasuolė Gasiūnaitė

Indexed on: 25 Oct '11Published on: 25 Oct '11Published in: Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies


Species composition of plankton ciliates was studied in the Curonian Lagoon in 2007–2008 and compared to long term investigations dating back to the 1980th. In total, 152 taxa were identified at the level of species or genera. More species (76 species/higher taxa) was found in the estuarine part of the Lagoon due to temporally unstable salinity and the presence of both freshwater and brackish/marine species. Some of the brackish/marine species: Tintinnopsis baltica, Tintinnopsis kofoidi, Cothurnia maritima, Lohmaniella oviformis, Lohmaniella spiralis and Helicostomella subulatum were recorded for the first time in the lagoon. The ciliate community at the freshwater sites was less diverse, containing 63 species/higher taxa in the central stagnant part of the Lagoon and 47 — in the Nemunas River avandelta. The comparison of present and past studies revealed that the use of a single live-counting method could lead to underestimation of small nanociliate species, whereas examination of Lugol fixed material provides relatively poor taxonomic information.