Fluctuations in soil biota abundance in different organic layers of a Scots pine forest in The Netherlands were studied by bimonthly counts during 2.5 years. The counts were made using litterbags which were placed in the litter (L), fragmentation (F) and humus (H) layers at the start of the experiment. Results from the L layer were also compared with results from litter which was renewed every 2 months (L') to study colonisation. In this study the results for amoebae, flagellates and ciliates are presented. The highest numbers of soil protozoa were found in the L layer during most sampling occasions. The H layer contained the lowest numbers. The L layer also showed higher numbers than the L' litterbags which were renewed every 2 months. Fluctuations in abundance could partly be explained by fluctuations in moisture content. Moisture content in the litterbags was rather constant throughout the experiment, although occasionally moisture contents of 10% and 80% were observed. Fluctuations in moisture content in the L layer were often larger than in the F and H layers. Flagellates were the most abundant group, reaching numbers of several hundred thousands to several millions per gram fresh weight on various occasions. Amoebae often reached numbers of between tens of thousands and several hundred thousands. Ciliates only reached numbers of up to several thousands.
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