An Assessment of Sub-Meter Scale Spatial Variability of Arcellinida (Testate Lobose Amoebae) Assemblages in a Temperate Lake: Implications for Limnological Studies
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Arcellinida (testate lobose amoebae), a group of benthic protists, were examined from 46 sediment-water interface samples collected from oligotrophic Oromocto Lake, New Brunswick, Canada. To assess (1) assemblage homogeneity at a sub-meter spatial scale and (2) the necessity for collecting samples from multiple stations during intra-lake surveys; multiple samples were collected from three stations (quadrats 1, 2, and 3) across the north basin of Oromocto Lake, with quadrat 1 (n = 16) being the furthest to the west, quadrat 2 (n = 15) situated closer to the center of the basin, and quadrat 3 (n = 15) positioned 300 m south of the mouth of Dead Brook, an inlet stream. Results from cluster analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) analysis identified two major Arcellinida assemblages, A1 and A2, the latter containing two sub-assemblages (A2a and A2b). Redundancy analysis and variance partitioning results indicated that seven statistically significant environmental variables (K, S, Sb, Ti, Zn, Fe, and Mn) explained 41.5% of the total variation in the Arcellinida distribution. Iron, Ti and K, indicators of detrital runoff, had the greatest influence on assemblage variance. The results of this study reveal that closely spaced samples (~ 10 cm) in an open-water setting are comprised of homogenous arcellinidan assemblages, indicating that replicate sampling is not required. The results, however, must be tempered with respect to the various water properties and physical characteristics that comprise individual lakes as collection of several samples may likely be necessary when sampling multiple sites of a lake basin characterized by varying water depths (e.g., littoral zone vs. open water), or lakes impacted by geogenic or anthropogenic stressors (e.g., eutrophication, or industrial contamination).
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