About Us | Rotiferalia

About Rotiferalia

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Welcome to Rotiferalia

My fascination with rotifers started with planktonic rotifers, then I raised rotifers to feed marine fish in batch cultures and chemostats, until I discovered the diversity of the more fascinating benthic rotifers. My research has targeted streams/rivers in Austria, Germany, England, Wales, North America and more recently Chilean Patagonia, because these complex benthic systems exhibit a very high species diversity (> 500 invertebrate/vertebrate species in a single stream system). Many of those stream systems are inhabited by more than 100 different rotifer species, often in higher densities in deeper streambed sediment-layers. I have an extensive experience on sampling both surface and subsurface zones of streams and rivers. My research emphasis is on:

  • Food web structure and dynamics
  • Biomass turnover and production
  • Metabolic scaling
  • Body size distribution
  • Community and habitat structure
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Why rotifers?

Too little importance is given to smaller creatures, such as those belonging to the meiofauna, as research work related to these taxa is sometimes labelled as too "tedious", too "time-consuming" or even "financially not profitable".
These tiny creatures are important in the recycling of organic matter, in standing stock turnovers, secondary production and the general funtioning of ecosystems. Just because they can not be seen with the naked eye, it does not mean they do not exist, or that they do not play a major role in systems in the expanse of planet Earth.

Why meiofauna?

Freshwater meiofaunal groups are commonly ignored in lotic research, while marine counterparts have well demonstrated their contributions (a) as trophic link between bacteria and larger fauna, (b) intensifying the rate of carbon mineralisation by stimulating microbial activity through predation, and (c) stimulating nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria.
In contrast, lotic research on the meiofauna has just started but results already stress their importance (1) as prey for macroinvertebrate species, (2) in biomass turnover, (3) in secondary production, and (4) in food-web dynamics and even as top consumers in stream ecosystems.

"I must now introduce to you a class of animals peculiarly microscopic; since, without our marvel-showing instrument, they are wholly beyond the sphere of human cognizance."

Philip Henry Gosse, 1884

Some of Our Research


Lone Oak stream, England

Oberer Seebach, Austria

Afon Mynach, Wales

Broadstone Stream, England