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Protozoa of the Great Lakes

  

Key

Protozoans are a highly diverse group of single-celled organisms. Some protozoans are plant-like in that they contain chloropyll and so can use energy directly from the sun (producers or autotrophs); these may or may not be mobile. Many of these are classified with the algae. Other protozoans are more animal-like, getting their energy by absorbing nutrients from the environment or by consuming other organisms (heterotrophs; consumers and decomposers). Some are capable of both at once (mixotrophs). Still others include a wide variety of parasites. Great Lakes protozoans have recently been recognized as a critical link in the 'microbial loop' returning energy and nutrients from bacteria and detritus which would otherwise be lost to the main pelagic food web. Unfortunately, the group is often difficult to study and comprehensive lists of the Great Lakes taxa are not readily available. The following information in this section focuses on the dominant species.

Key to the Common Great Lakes Protozoa

Rhodomonas photo

Sarcomastigophora
(Flagellates)

Strombidium caudatum Courtesy of SERC
Ciliophora
(Ciliates)

Difflugia - photo from MTU

Rhizopoda
(Amoebae)

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Key to the Common Great Lakes Flagellates
if pigmented (e.g., green) see Algae

1 apical flagellum, apical network of microvilli forming a funnel-like collar.
Choanoflagellates
Apical flagella not inserted in an oral furrow and without an apical collar.
Chrysomonads
2 or more flagella inserted in an oral furrow.
Cryptomonads
2 or more subapical flagella of unequal length attached in transverse and longitudinal furrows.
Dinoflagellates

Choanoflagellates

Choanoflagellate photo

Desmerella spp.
Chrysomonads (see also Chrysophyta)

Chromulina drawing

1 apical flagellum, no funnel-like collar.
Chromulina spp.

Chrysochromulina spp. photo

2 or more apical flagella, pigmented in 2 lateral chromatophores, naked cells with a long posterior haptonema.
Chrysochromulina spp.

Dinobryon photo

2 or more apical flagella, pigmented in 2 lateral chromatophores, lorica, colonial.
Dinobryon spp.

Cryptomonads (see also Cryptophyta)

Ochromonas

apical flagella, colorless and free-swimming.
Ochromonas spp.

Katablepharis spp.

subapical flagella of unequal length, colorless.
Cryptaulax spp. or Katablepharis spp.

Cryptomonas photo

subapical flagella of unequal length, pigmented in 2 chloroplasts, >15um.
Cryptomonas spp.

Rhodomonas photo

subapical flagella of unequal length, pigmented in 1 chloroplast with 1 pyrenoid, <15um.
Rhodomonas spp.

Dinoflagellates (see also Dinoflagellates)

Ceratium photo
armored with conspicuous plates. >150um with an irregular shape.
Ceratium spp.

Peridinium photo
armored with conspicuous plates. <20um ovoid.
Peridinium spp.

Gymnodinium photo
naked without conspicuous plates.
Gymnodinium spp.

Key based on: Common Planktonic Protozoa in the Upper Great Lakes: An Illustrated Guide. Carrick and Fahnenstiel. NOAA.

 

Key to the Common Great Lakes Ciliates

Body cilia reduced or absent, aboral zone of membranelles forms a complete ring.
Choreotrichida

Codonella - photo from MTU

enclosed in a vase-shaped lorica with reticulate rings
Codonella spp.

Tintinnidium photo - courtesy of

flexible tube-shaped lorica
Tintinnidium spp.

Strombilidium photo courtesy of Woods Hole

naked
Strombilidium spp.

 

Body cilia reduced or absent, adoral membranelles form an incomplete ring, naked
Oligotrichida

spherical with lateral bristles
Pelagohalteria spp.

Pelagostrombidium fallax photo courtesy of "Larger than Life"

ovoid with a slight spiral, thick paratene cap encases entire posterior.
Pelagostrombidium spp.

Strombidium caudatum Courtesy of SERC

heart-shaped with a slight spiral, thin paratene cap posterior.
Strombidium spp.

Body cilia reduced to a sub-equatorial fringe, usually attached.
Sessilida

Vorticella - photo from MTU

ovoid 10-30um, attached by a retractable stalk
Vorticella spp.

Vaginicola spp. courtesy of North Temperate Lakes Microbial Observatory

bell-shaped in a cup-shaped lorica, attached without a stalk
Vaginicola spp.

Prominent body cilia in two types forming an apical band in the upper 3/4 of the cell. May be armored.
Prorodontida

body cilia an apical band surrounding the oral region, with a single caudal cilium
Pseudobalanion spp.

Urotricha photo courtesy of Woods Hole

body cilia an apical band over the upper 3/4 of the cell with a single caudal cilium
Urotricha spp.

 

Prominent body cilia in two types, raised cytostome, mouth apical or subapical with a tubular passage extending inward.
Haptorida

cell flask-shaped, apex with a distinct ventral bend.
Lagynophyra spp.

Monodinium photo courtesy of Woods Hole

Body cilia in 1 girdle behind the anterior oral dome.
Monodinium spp.

Mesodinium photo courtesy of Woods Hole

Body cilia in 2 girdles behind the anterior oral dome - one extending forward.
Mesodinium spp.

Body cilia in 2 girdles one at the equator and the 2nd a short dense band around the oral region.
Akenasia spp.

 

Key based on: Common Planktonic Protozoa in the Upper Great Lakes: An Illustrated Guide. Carrick and Fahnenstiel. NOAA.

 

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Species List

  • Phylum Sarcomastigophora (more photosynthetic flagellates included with the algae)
    • Order Bicoecales
      • Bicoeca (aka Bicosoeca, Poteriodendron)
        • Bicoeca campanulata M
        • Bicoeca crystallina M
        • Bicoeca lacustris? M
        • Bicoeca mitra M
        • Bicoeca petiolata MO
        • Bicoeca tubiformis MO
    • Order Choanoflagellida
  • Phylum Ciliophora
    • Subclass Holotrichia
      • Order Prorodontida
          • Balanion *HM
          • Pseudobalanion HM
        • Family Urotrichidae
          • Urotricha *HM
            • Urotricha pelagica HM
        • Family Colepiidae
          • Coleps HME
    • Subclass Peritricha
      • Order Peritrichida - Suborder Sessilina (alt Order Sessilida)
        • Family Epistylidae
          • Epistylis
        • Family Vaginicolidae
          • Cothurina
          • Vaginicola HM
        • Family Vorticellidae
          • Vorticella HME
            • Vorticella campanula HM
    • Subclass Rhabdophorina
      • Order Hymenostatida
        • Family Paramecidae
          • Paramecium
      • Order Rhynchodida (?aka Haptorida)
          • Lagynophyra HM
          • Monodinium HM
          • Myrionecta
          • Paruroleptus
        • Family Didiniidae
          • *Askenasia HM
          • Mesodinium HM
        • Family Spathididae
          • Spathidium
      • Order Scuticociliatida (aka Hymenostomatida)
        • Cyclidium E
    • Subclass Spirotrichia
      • Order Choretrichida
        • SO Strobilidiina - Family Strobilididae
          • *Strobilidium HME
            • Strobilidium velox HM
        • SO Tintinnina - Family Codonellidae
          • Codonella HM
            • Codonella cratera HM
        • SO Tintinnina - Family Tintinnidiidae
          • Tintinnidium HM
          • Tintinnopsis E
      • Order Hypotrichida
        • Family Oxytrichidae
          • Stylonychia
      • Order Odontostomatida
        • Epalxellidae
          • Epalxis
      • Order Oligotrichida
        • Family Halteriidae
          • Halteria *HME
          • Pelagohalteria HM
        • Family Stentoridae
          • Stentor E
        • Family Strombidiidae
          • Strombidium *HME
            • Strombidium viridae E
          • Pelagostrombidium HM
    • Subclass Suctoria
      • Order Suctorida
        • Family Acinetidae
          • Acineta
            • Acineta nitocra
        • Family Podophyridae
          • Podophrya
  • Phylum Rhizopoda
    • Diplophyrys
    • Class Lobosa
      • Order Arcellinida
        • Arcellidae
          • Arcella sp. W
          • Hyalosphenia sp. W
            • H. cuneata W
          • Schoenbornia sp. W
        • Centropyxidae
          • Centropyxis sp. W
        • Difflugiidae
          • Difflugia sp. W
    • Class Filosia
      • Aconchulinida
        • Cyphoderiidae
          • Cyphoderia sp.
            • Cyphoderia ampulla W
            • Cyphoderia trochus W
          • Corythionella sp.
            • Corythionella golemanskyi W HEO
            • Corythionella georgiana H
          • Psammonobiotus sp. W SHEO
            • Psammonobiotus communis W SHEO
            • Psammonobiotus dziwnowi H
            • Psammonobiotus linearis W EO
        • Euglyphidae
          • Campascus sp.
            • C. minutus W
          • Euglypha spp. W
            • E. filifera W
          • Paraeuglypha sp.
            • P. reticulata W
          • Sphenoderia sp. W
          • Scutiglypha sp. W
          • Tracheleuglypha sp.
            • T. dentata W.
          • Trinema
            • T. enchelys W
            • T. lineare W
        • Paulinellidae
          • Paulinella
            • P. chromatophora W

*=Dominant

  • Planktonic ciliates of the North American Great Lakes: Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. 2005. M. Munawar and D.H. Lynn. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, Volume 5, Number 3, 1 September 2002, pp. 345-354(10).

H=Lake Huron.

M=Lake Michigan

S=Lake Superior

E=Lake Erie

O=Lake Ontario

W= (wave zone = 0-2m)

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Protozoa Links

 

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