Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 506934
Title The bacterial-fungal energy channel concept challenged by enormous functional versatility of soil protists
Author(s) Geisen, Stefan
Source Soil Biology and Biochemistry 102 (2016). - ISSN 0038-0717 - p. 22 - 25.
Department(s) Laboratory of Nematology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract Protists (=protozoa) are commonly treated as bacterivores that control the bacterial energy channel in soil food webs. This ecologist’s perspective is, however, challenged by taxonomic studies showing that a range of protists feed on fungi, other protists and even nematodes. Recently, it was revealed that obligate and facultative mycophagous protists are common soil inhabitants, while others are facultative nematophagous. Furthermore, protists act as parasites and pathogens of plants and animals. This neglected functional diversity of protists, that is similarly prevalent for other groups of soil organisms, reveals that current food web model models are oversimplified.

Facultative feeding of various protist taxa on bacteria and fungi, the source of both major energy channels, strongly implies that a clear split of the energy channels at lower trophic levels does not exist and that more complex energy flows prevail in soil food webs. Future efforts should therefore target ecological functioning of protists and other groups of soil organisms, on a species-specific level, to create more meaningful functional units that then need incorporation in modified soil food web models. Such efforts will help disentangling the structure, diversity and resulting functioning of complex soil systems, including energy flows through the soil food web.
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