Ciliates are extremely important in aquatic ecosystems as primary consumers of bacteria. Protists are important consumers in the freshwater food web (Heath et al., 2003; Marxsen, 2006) and the ciliates are key in this web. Ciliates and other protists appear to be important in contaminated marine ecosystems (Andrew and Floodgate, 1974; Parker 1983). Given this role, a survey of marine ciliates in contaminated Gulf waters provides a unique opportunity for the discovery of basic consumers involved in the natural decontamination process.
This map shows the location of the institution implementing the project actions.↩