have studied a group of supralittoral rockpools on Gullane beach (East
Lothian, Scotland) and isolated a number of amoebae through the year.
GB1, GB4 and GB2k
Where have C-SMAFs come from?
Amoebae from a suspected terrestrial environment
have frequently been discovered in marine environments and have presumably
been washed there by rivers or deposited there by human activity.
These amoebae are likely to be out-competed by better suited protists in
time. The C-SMAFs have features of both marine (seawater tolerance)
and terrestrial (cyst formation) amoebae. Part of my study aims to
determine if the C-SMAFs represent a permanent population, or merely stray
amoebae that just happen to end up in the rock pools from elsewhere and
will shortly expire. If the former is the case then I would expect
to be able to isolate the same species repeatedly, but if the C-SMAFs are
coming form elsewhere but can survive for a short time then I would expect
to isolate many different species. A possible source of the C-SMAFs
is mudflats, here similar conditions of desiccation, and salinity changes
are likely to occur and so it is possible that this is the actual
permanent home of the C-SMAFs. So far I have succeeded in finding many
different species but this may be due to my isolation technique.
Better methods are now being explored and I soon will be in a better
position to answer the question. A major difficult in this study is
to identify various species of amoeba, morphology alone tells us that the
amoebae in question belongs to the Vahlfampfiidae but molecular means are
necessary to determine species. I have using the approach of
SSUrDNA gene sequencing (as have most others).
The importance of C-SMAFs to the
Probably none since
supra-littoral rock pools
occupy such a small part of the shore! However, it is possible that
C-SMAFs are arriving at these rock-pools from the the higher reaches of
mudflats. Mudflats are important regions for biological productivity
and if as has been shown in terrestrial soil that amoeba make a
significant contribution to bacterial consumption then the C-SMAFs may be