The application of new techniques in the 1980's to marine ecology revealed immense numbers of bacteria and protists. In due course it became evident that the microbial communities were considerably more significant than the more familiar phytoplankton and animal communities. Within marine microbial communities, free-living heterotrophic flagellates are usually the most significant consumers of bacteria smaller phytoplankton. In this role, they determine the availability of nutrients for other organisms, and help drive carbon, energy and nutrients towards the 'higher' consumers. A lack of information about the general biology of free-living heterotrophic flagellates led a group based at the University of Bristol (England) and later at the University of Sydney (Australia) to explore the diversity, taxonomy, evolution and distribution of free living flagellates. The diversity of flagellates at the generic level was reviewed in 1991 (Patterson and Larsen 1991). That work is now supplemented with this compilation which is a fairly comprehensive list of all species of free-living heterotrophic flagellates - excepting heterotrophic dinoflagellates and heterotrophic and mixotrophic haptophytes and stramenopiles - from marine habitats. It has been compiled by Won Je Lee (School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia). This is a bibliopgraphic exercise, and we do not agree with some of the identifications - and in these cases we have added a cautionary comment. We welcome advice on any species which may have been overlooked, or offers of illustrations of taxa for which we have so far been unable to obtain any pictures.
- REFERENCES -
Larsen, J. and Patterson, D. J. 1990. Some flagellates (Protista) from tropical marine sediments. Journal of Natural History, 24: 801-937.
Lee, W. J. and Patterson, D. J. 2000. Heterotrophic flagellates (Protista) from marine sediments of Botany Bay, Australia. Journal of Natural History, 34: 483-562.
Lee, W. J. and Patterson, D.J. 1998. Diversity and geographic distribution of free-living heterotrophic flagellates - analysis by PRIMER. Protist, 149: 229-243.
Patterson, D. J. and Larsen, J. (eds) 1991. The Biology of Free-Living Heterotrophic Flagellates, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Patterson, D.J. and Lee, W.J. 2000. Geographic distribution and diversity of free-living heterotrophic flagellates. In: 'The Flagellates" Eds Green, J. and Leadbeater, B.S.C. Taylor and Francis, 269-287.
Patterson D. J. and Simpson, A. G. B. 1996. Heterotrophic flagellates from coastal marine and hypersaline sediments in Western Australia. European Journal of Protistology 32:423-448.
Image of cunjevoi in last rays of the evening sun by D. J. Patterson. Image copyright: D. J. Patterson, used under license to MBL (micro*scope).