Moss communities are commonly found in temperate forests and form a nearly continuous understory in some high latitude forests. However, little is known about the microbial component of these communities, especially the non-testate amoeboid protists. Fifty morphospecies of naked amoebae were identified in samples collected at eight sites in a northeastern North American forest. The mean number (+/- SE) of morphospecies found per sample site based on laboratory cultures was 17 +/- 2.1. The density of amoebae expressed as number/g dry weight of moss ranged from 3.5 +/- 0.04 x 10(3) to 4.3 +/- 0.2 x 10(4) and was positively correlated with the moss moisture content (r=0.9, P < 0.001, df=26). Densities of gymnamoebae in the moss are generally higher than found in the surrounding soil, but this may be due in part to the greater weight of soil per unit volume compared with moss. The percentage of encysted forms was inversely related to the moisture content of the moss sample.
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