Diversity and distribution of heterotrophic flagellates in seawater of the Powell Basin, Antarctic Peninsula

  • Zhiyi Chen College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China; and Key Laboratory for Polar Science of Natural Resources Ministry, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, China
  • Jianfeng He College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China; and Key Laboratory for Polar Science of Natural Resources Ministry, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, China
  • Shunan Cao Key Laboratory for Polar Science of Natural Resources Ministry, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, China
  • Zhibo Lu College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
  • Musheng Lan Key Laboratory for Polar Science of Natural Resources Ministry, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, China
  • Hongyuan Zheng College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
  • Guangfu Luo Key Laboratory for Polar Science of Natural Resources Ministry, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, China
  • Fang Zhang Key Laboratory for Polar Science of Natural Resources Ministry, Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai, China
Keywords: Heterotrophic picoflagellates, heterotrophic nanoflagellates, biodiversity, community structure


Heterotrophic flagellates are essential components of the marine microbial food web. However, how the changes in flagellate populations reflect environmental changes in marine ecosystems is still unclear, especially in polar regions. In this study, we used pyrosequencing to examine the community structure of heterotrophic flagellates (HFs) in the Powell Basin’s surface waters of the northern Antarctic Peninsula. OTUs (operational taxonomic units) of different taxa and the correlations between community structure and environmental factors were analysed. Eight taxa of HFs were selected for the principal analysis: Telonemia, Picozoa, Rhizaria, Amoebozoa, Apusomonas, Centrohelida, Choanomonada and marine stramenopiles (MASTs). The HFs were defined as heterotrophic picoflagellates (HPFs; <3 μm) and heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNFs; >3 μm, <20 μm), which had similar dominant phyla (MASTs and Telonemia). However, their taxonomic composition differed. Environmental factors exerted similar effects on the community structure of both HPFs and HNPs. Compared with the correlation between HPF and environmental factors, the correlation between HNF and environmental factors was stronger. Salinity, bacterial biomass and the biological interactions amongst dominant taxa were the main variables to influence the diversity and community structure of HFs.


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How to Cite
Chen Z., He J., Cao S., Lu Z., Lan M., Zheng H., Luo G., & Zhang F. (2021). Diversity and distribution of heterotrophic flagellates in seawater of the Powell Basin, Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Research, 40. https://doi.org/10.33265/polar.v40.5389
Research Articles