Ciliate taxonomy and diversity

Ciliates

Scanning Electron Microscope image of ciliate protozoa

Principal Investigator

Dr Alan Warren

Project summary

  • Focus: The systematics and diversity of free-living ciliates, particularly marine and brackish forms in costal waters

We are focusing our research on the systematics and diversity of free-living ciliates, particularly marine and brackish forms in costal waters.

Ciliates are found almost everywhere that there is sufficient water for them to move and feed, and are the primary consumers of bacteria in many habitats. Some are parasitic living either inside, or attached to the outside, of their animal host.

Surveys of marine benthic ciliates in coastal regions of the UK and of southern and northeastern China

A major outcome of this work will be a web-based guide to the identification of marine benthic ciliates.

The diversity and systematics of planktonic ciliates in Chinese coastal waters

This includes an investigation of the potential of DNA-barcoding for species identification among key groups of spirotricheans.

Evolutionary relationships among selected ciliate groups 

These are being investigated using a combination of morphological, morphogenetic and molecular methods.

In addition, we are updating our web-based Guide to the Identification of Ciliates in Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment Processes.

Biodiversity research

We are creating molecular and digital tools to explore undiscovered biodiversity

Diversity and informatics research

Researching undiscovered diversity in megadiverse systems using big data

red-seaweed-scinaia-forcellata-hti-top

Algae collections

Our algae collection is among the largest in the world and a rich source of important historical material