Authored by: Bryan Griffiths , Marianne Clarholm , Michael Bonkowski

Handbook of Soil Sciences Properties and Processes

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803059
eBook ISBN: 9781439803066
Adobe ISBN:


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Protozoa belong to the “Protista,” which is a paraphyletic group consisting of those eukaryotes that are not animals, true fungi, or green plants. The group is also defined on the basis of the absence of characters (i.e., no complex development from embryos, no extensive cell differentiation) and thus includes widely ranging microbes, including slime molds, algae, and protozoa (Clarholm et al., 2007). Protozoa in soil, which are active in water-filled pores and water films in larger pores, can be generally (or basically) classified in four groups: flagellates, cili-ates, and naked and testate amoebae. Provided the appropriate sampling techniques are used, one can find protozoa in virtually every conceivable soil habitat. In harsh environments with low primary production, small forms with low nutrient demands normally dominate, whereas in richer environments their diversity, trophic complexity, and size tend to increase.

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