Culture collection of the heterotrophic amoeboid protists was founded more than 25 years ago at the Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology and Soil Science SPSU. It currently contains about 400 strains of various amoeboid protozoa, heliozoans and heterotrophic flagellates.



Current set of the strains maintained consists of the two main divisions:

  • (1) Type strains deposited by various researchers for long-term maintenance. These are thoroughly studied, documented and described strains that were assigned to, and described as new species. The strain in this case is the “name-bearing type” of the species name according to the international nomenclatural codes. These strains are requested and used by local and foreign researchers for reinvestigation, clarification of descriptions and diagnoses, molecular studies and other types of research that require the use of correctly identified protozoan isolates.
  • (2) “Genetic” collections of strains comprising multiple isolates belonging to the same morphospecies, but isolated from multiple isolated and/or geographically distant habitats. The cultures in these collections have been studied using morphological and molecular methods, and are used as the model objects in a broad scope of research. In particular, these strains are used for solving the problems of ecology, molecular biology and evolution of the amoeboid protists, for example, speciation problems, genetic structure of morphospecies, their biogeography and dispersal rates.

Part of the collection comprises the type cultures transferred from the other collections, including the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP). They include original strains maintained in culture for decades. There are also collections of working strains of other researchers, in particular, Ralf Meisterfeld’s (RWTH Aachen, Germany) culture collection of testate lobose amoebae. These strains are used in the research on systematics and phylogeny of amoebae, and the database of their characters is being constantly improved.

The cultures maintained in the collection have been isolated from various habitats all over the world. The range of biotopes where strains were collected is also broad, including numerous marine and brackish water, freshwater and soil habitats. Many strains in the collection are unique, as they have been isolated from extremely poorly accessible habitats. In particular, about 40 amoebae strains maintained in the collection were isolated from the deep-sea sediments of the western Atlantic Ocean, Sea of Japan (2-5 km depth), as well as hydrothermal habitats of the Piip Volcano (Bering Sea, Pacific Ocean).  There are also strains from the Middle East deserts, freshwater habitats of the South America and poorly accessible swamps of South-Eastern Asia.