Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Annual variations in body-size spectra of planktonic ciliate communities and their relationships to environmental conditions: a case study in Jiaozhou Bay, northern China

  • Henglong Xu (a1), Yong Jiang (a1), Wei Zhang (a1), Mingzhuang Zhu (a1), Khaled A. S. Al-Rasheid (a2) and Alan Warren (a3)...

The annual variations in body-size spectra of planktonic ciliate communities and their relationships to environmental conditions were studied based on a 12-month dataset (June 2007 to May 2008) from Jiaozhou Bay on the Yellow Sea coast of northern China. Based on the dataset, the body sizes of the ciliates, expressed as equivalent spherical diameters, included five ranks: S1 (5–35 μm); S2 (35–55 μm); S3 (55–75 μm); S4 (75–100 μm); and S5 (100–350 μm). These body-size ranks showed a clear temporal succession of dominance in the order of S2 (January–April) → S1 (May–July) → S4 (August–September) → S3 (October–December). Multivariate analyses showed that the temporal variations in their body-size patterns were significantly correlated with changes in environmental conditions, especially water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration (DO) and nutrients. In terms of abundance, rank S2 was significantly correlated with water temperature, DO and nutrients, whereas ranks S4 and S5 were correlated with the salinity and nutrients respectively (P < 0.05). These results suggest that the body-size patterns of planktonic ciliate communities showed a clear temporal pattern during an annual cycle and significantly associated with environmental conditions in marine ecosystems.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: H. Xu, Laboratory of Protozoology, Institute of Evolution and Marine Biodiversity, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Akin and K.O. Winemiller (2008) Body size and trophic position in a temperate estuarine food web. Acta Oecology 33, 144153.

F. Azam , T. Fenchel , J.G. Field , J.S. Gray , L.A. Meyer-Reil and F. Thingstad (1983) The ecological role of water-column microbes in the sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 10, 257263.

J.R. Beaver and T.L. Crisman (1982) The trophic response of ciliated protozoans in freshwater lakes. Limnology and Oceanography 27, 246253.

J.R. Beaver and T.L. Crisman (1989) Analysis of the community structure of planktonic ciliated protozoa relative to trophic state in Florida lakes. Hydrobiologia 174, 177184.

O. Coppellotti and P. Matarazzo (2000) Ciliate colonization of artificial substrates in the Lagoon of Venice. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 80, 419427.

J.R. Dolan and D.W. Coats (1990) Seasonal abundances of planktonic ciliates and microflagellates in mesohaline Chesapeake Bay waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 31, 157175.

J. Elloumi , J.F. Carrias , H. Ayadi , T. Sime-Ngando , M. Boukhris and A. Bouain (2006) Composition and distribution of planktonic ciliates from ponds of different salinity in the solar saltwork of Sfax, Tunisia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 67, 2129.

U. Gaedke (1992) The size distribution of plankton biomass in a large lake and its seasonal variability. Limnology and Oceanography 37, 12021220.

D.J. Gifford (1991) The protozoan–metazoan trophic link in pelagic ecosystems. Journal of Protozoology 38, 8186.

Y. Jiang , H. Xu , X. Hu , M. Zhu , K.A.S. Al-Rasheid and A. Warren (2011b) An approach to analyzing spatial patterns of planktonic ciliate communities for monitoring water quality in Jiaozhou Bay, northern China. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62, 227235.

Y. Jiang , H. Xu , W. Zhang , M. Zhu and K.A.S. Al-Rasheid (2012) Can body-size patterns of ciliated zooplankton be used for assessing marine water quality? A case study on bioassessement in Jiaozhou Bay, northern Yellow Sea. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-011-0688-9.

Y. Kamenir , Z. Dubinsky and R. Harris (2010) Taxonomic size structure consistency of English Channel phytoplankton. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 383, 105110.

N. Kchaou , J. Elloumi , Z. Drira , A. Hamza , H. Ayadi , A. Bouain and L. Aleya (2009) Distribution of ciliates in relation to environmental factors along the coastline of the Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 83, 414424.

L. Legendre and F. Rassouldezgan (1995) Plankton and nutrient dynamics in marine waters. Ophelia 41, 153172.

E. López and R. Anadón (2008) Copepod communities along an Atlantic Meridional Transect: abundance, size structure, and grazing rates. Deep-Sea Research I 55, 13751391.

D. Montagnes and E. Humphrey (1998) A description of occurrence and morphology of a new species of red-water forming Strombidium (Spirotrichea, Oligotrichia). Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 45, 502506.

R.H. Peters (1983) The ecological implications of body size. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

P. Pitta , A. Giannakourou and U. Christaki (2001) Planktonic ciliates in the oligotrophic Mediterranean Sea: longitudinal trends of standing stocks, distributions and analysis of food vacuole contents. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 24, 297311.

J.R Pratt and J. Cairns Jr (1985) Functional groups in the protozoa: roles in differing ecosystems. Journal of Protozoology 32, 415423.

H.A. Ruhl (2007) Abundance and size distribution dynamics of abyssal epibenthic megafauna in the northeast Pacific. Ecology 88, 12501262.

E. San Martin , R.P. Harris and X. Irigoien (2006) Latitudinal variation in plankton size spectra in the Atlantic Ocean. Deep-Sea Research II 53, 15601572.

R.W. Sheldon , A. Prakash and W.H. Sutcliffe (1972) The size distribution of particles in the ocean. Limnology and Oceanography 17, 327340.

E.B. Sherr and B.F. Sherr (1987) High rates of consumption of bacteria by pelagic ciliates. Nature 325, 710711.

T. Sime-Ngando , M. Gosselin , S. Roy and J.P. Chanut (1995) Significance of planktonic ciliated protozoa in the lower St. Lawrence estuary: comparison with bacterial, phytoplankton, and particulate organic carbon. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 9, 243258.

D.K. Stoecker and J. McDowell-Cappuzzo (1990) Predation on protozoa: its importance to zooplankton. Journal of Plankton Research 12, 891908.

X. Tan , X. Shi , G. Liu , H. Xu and P. Nie (2010) An approach to analyzing taxonomic patterns of protozoan communities for monitoring water quality in Songhua River, northeast China. Hydrobiologia 638, 193201.

M. Xu , H. Cao , P. Xie , D. Deng , W. Feng and J. Xu (2005) Use of PFU protozoan community structural and functional characteristics in assessment of water quality in a large, highly polluted freshwater lake in China. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 7, 670674.

H. Xu , G.S. Min , J.K. Choi , J.H. Jun and M.H. Park (2009a) An approach to analyses of periphytic ciliate colonization for monitoring water quality using a modified artificial substrate in Korean coastal waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58, 12781285.

H. Xu , A. Warren , K.A.S. Al-Rasheid , M. Zhu and W. Song (2010) Planktonic protist communities in semi-enclosed mariculture waters: temporal dynamics of functional groups and their responses to environmental conditions. Acta Oceanologica Sinica 29, 106115.

H. Xu , Y. Yiang , K.A.S. Al-Rasheid , W. Song and A. Warren (2011a) Spatial variation in taxonomic distinctness of ciliated protozoan communities at genus-level resolution and relationships to marine water quality in Jiaozhou Bay, northern China. Hydrobiologia 665, 6778.

H. Xu , W. Zhang , Y. Jiang , G.S. Min and J.K. Choi (2011b) An approach to identifying potential surrogates of periphytic ciliate communities for monitoring water quality of coastal waters. Ecological Indicators 11, 12281234.

W. Zhang and R. Wang (2000) Summertime ciliate and copepod nauplii distributions and microzooplankton herbivorous activity in the Laizhou Bay, Bohai Sea, China. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 51, 103114.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 8 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 40 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.