About the book
This book contains subjects dealing with taxonomy, ecological importance, diversity and geographic distribution, symbiotic interactions, phylogeny and evolution of ciliates, a broad group of protists included in Alveolata by the presence of cortical alveoli. Each chapter is focused to updated subjects, summarizing novel information through major groups of more than 8,000 extant species. Ciliates are characterized by the posession of cilia at least in some stage of their life cycle, two kinds of nuclei, and conjugation as sexual process. They show variability in shape, sizes, habitats, food preferences and also they can be as free-living and symbiotic species. As free living organisms they inhabit freshwater, brackish, marine and terrestrial habitats, as benthonic or planktonic. As symbionts, their role could be as parasites, commensals, mutualistic, epibionts, and they are hosts of some microorganisms called endobionts. They are important organisms i.e. they have medical and veterinary importance- in aquaculture systems, assesment of water quality, genetics, biodiversity, food webs, phylogeny, and bioassays.