450 m2 of Protist Diversity: Conservation Area for Newly Discovered Ciliates in Salzburg

A pond in Salzburg has been granted nature conservation status due to its unusually diverse population of ciliates. As the results of an Austrian Science Fund FWF research project show, this small water body is home to an excess of 100 different species of ciliates, i.e., single celled organisms that have many hair-like cilia (e.g. Paramecium, the slipper-shaped ciliate). The data, which have been published in the scientific journal Diversity, also reveal that some of the species were previously unknown. They owe their survival to the vigilant taxonomists from the University of Salzburg, who saved the ephemeral pond from being filled in permanently and applied for conservation status. The latter was granted by the city of Salzburg and Krauthügel pond is now acknowledged as a globally unique “natural monument”.

Scientific Contact:
Prof. Wilhelm Foissner
University of Salzburg
FB Organismische Biologie
Hellbrunnerstr. 34
5020 Salzburg, Austria
T +43 / 662 / 8044 – 5615
E wilhelm.foissner@sbg.ac.at