Hunter Hines, Ph.D., discovered a population of the gold-colored soil ciliate Condylostomides etoschensis thriving in natural soils on Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute campus. The research was conducted during his doctoral research.
Hines, lead author along with his former supervisors Peter McCarthy, Ph.D., a research professor at FAU's Harbor Branch, and Genoveva Esteban, Ph.D., Bournemouth University, UK published these findings in the July issue of the journal Protist.
Condylostomides etoschensis had previously only been found in Africa, so the discovery from FAU's Harbor Branch campus is the first recording of this species for this continent. The team also found a blue ciliate in the same samples, Condylostomides coeruleus which was previously only recorded from South America.
"These new records provide additional evidence that large distances, even between continents, do not hinder microbes from thriving globally," said Dr. Hines. "The absence of these conspicuously-colored ciliates from previous studies is likely due to under-sampling, rather than to any physical barriers."