Paramecium bursaria
Paramecium bursaria

Paramecium bursaria (Video) is a model ciliate in protist science that lives in symbiosis with algae (green). Here, we see the characteristic two contractile vacuoles with the collecting channels, the cell mouth (slit-like depression with many moving cilia in the middle of the cell) and the macronucleus (appears ellipsoidal in grey).

Pelagostrombidium fallax

Pelagostrombidium fallax feeds on planktonic algae and digests everything but the chloroplast (=’stolen chloroplast’ or ‘kleptoplast’). From the kleptoplasts (photosynthesis), the ciliate receives additional nutrients.

Paradileptus elephantinus

Paradileptus elephantinus is a huge ciliate that even ingests rotifers (small metazoans).

Lagynus elegans

Lagynus elegans prefers the oxygen-depleted zones in a lake.

Coleps hirtus viridis

Coleps hirtus viridis is a ciliate commonly found in lakes and ponds that receives nutrients from its algal symbionts (photosynthesis). Here we see the characteristic cortical plates.

Welcome to

We are a group of enthusiastic ciliate researchers interested in all aspects concerning protists from lake plankton!
We are interested in the role of each species (autecology) in ‘microbial food webs.
In detail, we study these protists on an alpha taxonomic level including morphological and molecular state-of-the-art methods.

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  • Co-occurrence networks in aquatic food webs: ciliates as models International trilateral project funded by the FWF (lead agency; I 2238-B25), SNF and DFG. PIs B. Sonntag (FWF), T. Posch (SNF, University of Zürich), T. Stoeck (DFG, University of Kaiserslautern); September 2015 – August 2020
    Freshwater endosymbiotic algae and their ciliate hosts: morphology, phylogeny, ecology. FWF Austrian Science Fund (P28333-B25), PI B. Sonntag & T. Pröschold, April 2016 – March 2021
    Ein Projekt für über 400 Kinder und Jugendliche aus neun vorpädagogischen und pädagogischen Einrichtungen. Gefördert im Programm ‘Talente regional der Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft FFG’, Juli 2015 – Dezember  2016, PI S. Wanzenböck, M. Ellmauer
    Ultraviolet radiation effects on planktonic freshwater ciliates: an assessment of photoprotection and repair strategies. FWF Austrian Science Fund (P21013-B03), February 2009 – November 2013, PI B. Sonntag