In work performed during the period February–October 1996, about 47 species of ciliates were detected in the communities of Aufwuchs, or periphyton, colonizing glass substrates submerged in three sites in the Lagoon of Venice, two in the urban area of Chioggia and one at a mussel-farming site. The ciliate communities were composed of sessile forms of Peritrichia and Suctoria and of motile ciliates, belonging especially to Hypotrichia and Karyorelictea. Four species of the peritrich Zoothamnium and the suctorians Acineta tuberosa and Ephelota gemmipara are reported here for the first time in the Lagoon of Venice. The richest ciliate communities were recovered at 60 cm from the bottom. Processed by multivariate analysis, data of samplings performed up to day ten from the positioning of glass slides indicated significant differences in biotic and physico-chemical parameters, according to season. The first data did not give definite indications on the possibility of using ciliates colonizing solid surfaces to assess the quality of this peculiar environment.
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