Testate amoebae and their influence on (global) silicon cycling (reblog)

Great post on the iSTAR blog by Daniel Puppe… on the role of testate amoebae in silicon cycling within terrestrial ecosystems. Testate amoebae in forest ecosystems convert 17 kg – 80 kg of soluble silicon into the mineral phase of silica in a year! Perhaps exceeding the trees!

From inside the shell

Contributed by Daniel Puppe

Silicon is the second most common element in the Earth’s crust (after oxygen) and the seventh most abundant element in the universe. That means we can find silicon almost everywhere. Silicon plays a pivotal role in diverse living organisms comprising pro- and eukaryotes accumulating biogenic silicon in various siliceous structures (= biosilicification) – like idiosomic testate amoeba shells. In soils of terrestrial ecosystems we can find a lot of biogenic silicon forming different silicon pools. These pools can be separated into zoogenic, phytogenic, microbial and protistic ones (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Biogenic silicon (Si) pools in terrestrial ecosystems (from Puppe et al. 2015). Fig. 1: Biogenic silicon (Si) pools in terrestrial ecosystems (from Puppe et al. 2015).

While scientific research has been focused especially on the phytogenic silicon pool (represented by so-called phytoliths), little is known about zoogenic, microbial and protistic silicon pools. The protistic silicon pool in soils comprises mainly terrestrial diatoms and idiosomic testate amoebae (some testates are shown in…

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Posted on March 11, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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