Viruses, prokaryotes, fungi, protozoans, and microscopic metazoans
Organisms that are invisible to the naked eye are the most abundant component of any freshwater community. These tiny organisms span domains and phyla and include viruses, prokaryotes (archae and bacteria), protists (single-celled eukaryotes such as single-celled fungi, algae, and protozoans) and multicellular fungi and microscopic metazoans (such as nematodes). This chapter gives an overview of microscopically small organisms, including their contribution to biodiversity, and techniques used by biologists studying these organisms in fresh waters, such as sampling regimes and methods used in the laboratory. To conclude, three case studies are given which have the same aim: to estimate the abundance and activity of microscopically small organisms in natural, freshwater communities.
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