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Dr. Frank Nitsche

Curriculum vitae


Study of biology at the University of Salzburg


Diploma thesis at the University of Salzburg. Theme: Ecology and faunistic of the molluscs in lake Fuschel with a special focus on Valvata alpestris


Free-lance biologist and consultant in Birmingham


Employee in the IT-field in Cologne. Main field of work were databases, queries and teaching those.


Free-lance programmer, biologist and consultant in Cologne.


PhD study at the University of Cologne (Systematic and morphology of freshwater Choanoflaggelates)

Since 2007

Postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Cologne, Zoological Institute, General Ecology and Limnology


Research interests

Aquatic ecology, molluscs, benthic organisms, influence of protozoans on nutrient cycles, microbiological methods, applied biology

Recent publications

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Acosta E., Fincke V., Nitsche F., Arndt H. (2023): Novel cercozoan and heterolobosean protists from the rhizosphere and phyllosphere of two endemic cacti from the Atacama Desert. Europ. J. Protistol., 126034.

Lennartz, A.E. (née Rybarski), Nitsche, F., Schoenle, A., Voigt, C., Staubwasser, M., Arndt, H., (2023): High diversity and isolated distribution of aquatic heterotrophic protists in salars of the Atacama Desert at different salinities. European Journal of Protistology, p.125987.


Hohlfeld, M., Meyer, C., Schoenle, A., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H (2022).: Biogeography, autecology, and phylogeny of Percolomonads based on newly described species. J. Eukaryot. Microbiol. 00:e12930.

Schiwitza, S., Spruck, C., Nitsche, F. (2022): Biogeographical distribution of Hartaetosiga strains (Choanoflagellatea, Craspedida, Salpingoecidae) including morphological and transcriptomic data from a transect across the
Atlantic Ocean.  Euk. Microbiol. 70. doi: 10.1111/jeu.12933

Schoenle, A., Hohlfeld, M.; Rybarski, A., Sachs, M., Freches, E., Wiechmann, K., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2022): Cafeteria in extreme environments: Investigations on C. burkhardae and three new species from the Atacama Desert and the deep ocean. Europ. J. Protistol. 85: 1259052021

Pietsch, T., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2022):  High molecular diversity in the functional group of small bacterivorous non-scaled chrysomonad flagellates. Europ J Protistol. 86, 125915.


Carduck, S., Nitsche, F., Rybarski, A., Hohlfeld, M., Arndt, H. (2021): Diversity and phylogeny of percolomonads based on newly discovered species from hypersaline and marine and waters. Europ J. Protistol. 80: 125808 ;

Rybarski, A.E., Nitsche, F., Park, J.S., Filz, P., Schmidt, P., Kondo, R., Simpson, A.G.B., Arndt, H. (2021): Revision of the phylogeny of Placididea (Stramenopiles): Molecular and morphological diversity of novel placidid protists from extreme aquatic environments.  Europ. J. Protistol 81: 125809

Schiwitza, S., Gutsche, L., Freches, E., Arndt, H., Nitsche, F. (2021): Extended divergence estimates and species descriptions of new craspedid choanoflagellates from the Atacama Desert, Northern Chile. Europ. J. Protistol. 79: 125798

Schoenle, A., Hohlfeld, M., Hermanns, K., Mahé, F., de Vargas, C., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2021): High and specific diversity of protists in the deep-sea basins dominated by diplonemids, kinetoplastids, ciliates and foraminiferans. Commun. Biol. 4, 501.


Arndt, H., Ritter, B., Rybarski, A., Schiwitza, S., Dunai, T., Nitsche, F. (2020):  Mirroring the effect of geological evolution: Protist speciation in the Atacama Desert.  Global and Planetary Change (accept. April 15, 2020)

Schiwitza, S., Lisson, L., Arndt, H., Nitsche, F. (2020): Morphological and molecular investigation on freshwater choanoflagellates (Craspedida, Salpingoecidae) from the River Rhine at Cologne (Germany). Europ. J. Protistol. 73:

Schiwitza, S., Nitsche, F. (2020): A Needle in the Haystack – Mapping Sequences to Morphology Exemplified by the Loricate Choanoflagellate Enibas thessalia sp. nov. (Acanthoecida, Acanthoecidae). Protist 172

Schoenle, A., Hohlfeld, M., Rosse, M., Filz, P., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2020): Global comparison of bicosoecid Cafeteria-like flagellates from the deep ocean and surface waters, with reorganization of the family Cafeteriaceae. Europ. J. Protistol. (in press)

Živaljić, S., Scherwass, A., Schoenle, A., Hohlfeld, M., Quintela-Alonso, P., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2020): A barotolerant ciliate isolated from the abyssal deep-sea of the North Atlantic: Euplotes dominicanus sp. n. (Ciliophora, Euplotia). Europ. J. Protistol. 73, Article 125664

Živaljić, S., Schoenle, A., Scherwass, A., Hohlfeld, M., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2020): Influence of hydrostatic pressure on the behaviour of three ciliate species isolated from the deep sea. Marine Biology  167:63


Schiwitza, S., Arndt, H., Nitsche, F. (2019) First description of an euryoecious acanthoecid choanoflagellate species, Enibas tolerabilis gen. et sp. nov., from a salar in the Chilean Andes based on morphological and transcriptomic data. Europ J. Protistol. 67: 106-113

Schoenle, A., Živaljić, S., Prausse, D., Voß, J., Jakobsen, K., Arndt, H. (2019) New phagotrophic euglenids from deep sea and surface waters of the Atlantic Ocean (Keelungia nitschei, Petalomonas acorensis, Ploeotia costaversata). Europ J. Protistol.


Li, R., Nitsche, F. Arndt, H. (2018): Mesoscale investigations based on microsatellite analysis of the freshwater sponge Ephydatia fluviatilis in the River-Sieg system (Germany) reveal a genetic divergence. Conservation Genetics 19:959–968

Schiwitza, S., Arndt, H., Nitsche, F. (2018): Four new choanoflagelle species from extreme saline environments: Indication for isolation-driven speciation exemplified by highly adapted Craspedida from salt flats in the Atacama Desert (Northern Chile). Europ. J. Protistol. 66: 86-96

Venter, P., Nitsche, F., Scherwass, A., Arndt, H. (2018) Discrepancies between molecular and morphological databases of soil ciliates studied for temperate grasslands of central Europe. Protist 169: 521-538

Venter, P., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2018): The hidden diversity of flagellated protists in soil. Protist 169: 432-449

Živaljić, S.,  Schoenle, A., Nitsche, F., Hohlfeld, M., Piechocki, J., Reif, F., Shumo, M., Weiss, A., Werner, J., Witt, M., Voss, J., Arndt, H. (2018): Survival of marine heterotrophic flagellates isolated from the surface and the deep sea at high hydrostatic pressure: literature review and own experiments. Deep-Sea Res. II, 148: 251-259


Jeuck, A., Nitsche, F., Wylezich, C., Wirth, O., Hennemann, M., Troll, N., Bergfeld, T., Monir, S., Scherwaß, A., Arndt, H. (2017): A comparison of quantification methods for heterotrophic flagellates of different taxonomic groups. Protist 168: 375-391

Carr, M., Richter, D., Fozouni, P., Smith, T.J., Jeuck, A., Leadbeater, B., Nitsche, F. (2017): A six-gene phylogeny provides new insights into choanoflagellate evolution. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 107: 166-178

Richter, D., Nitsche, F. (2017): Choanoflagellata. in: Handbook of Protists. Archibald, J.M. Simpson, A.G.B , Slamovits, C.H.(eds.) Springer, 2nd edition ISBN-13: 978-3319281476

Schoenle, A., Nitsche, F., Werner, J., Arndt, H. (2017) Deep-sea ciliates: recorded diversity and experimental studies on pressure tolerance. Deep-Sea Res I, 128: 55-66


Nitsche, F. (2016): A phylogenetic and morphological re-investigation of Diaphanoeca spiralifurca, Didymoeca elongata and Polyoeca dichotoma (Acanthoecida/Choanomonadida) from the Caribbean Sea. European Journal of Protistology 52: 58–64

Nitsche, F., Thomsen, H. A., Richter, D.J. (2016): Bridging the gap between morphological species and molecular barcodes - Exemplified by loricate choanoflagellates. Europ. J. Protistol. 57: 26-37 doi: 10.1016/j.ejop.2016.10.006

Pitsch, G., Adamec, L., Dirren, S., Nitsche, F., Šimek, K. Sirova, D., Posch, T. (2016): The green Tetrahymena utriculariae n. sp. (Ciliophora, Oligohymenophorea) with its Endosymbiotic Algae (Micractinium sp.), living in traps of a carnivorous aquatic plant. Protist doi.10.1111/jeu.12369

Schönle, A., Jeuck, A., Nitsche, F., Venter, P., Prausse, D., Arndt, H. (2016): Methodological studies on estimates of abundance and diversity of heterotrophic flagellates from the deep-sea floor. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 4, 22; doi:10.3390/jmse4010022

Thompsen, H.A., Nitsche, F, Richter, D.J. (2016): Seasonal occurrence of loricate choanoflagellates in Danish inner waters. Protist 167: 622-638 doi: 10.1016/j.protis.2016.09.002


Berney, C., Geisen, S., Van Wichelen, J., Nitsche, F. Vanormelingen P., Bonkowski, M., Bass, D. (2015): Expansion of the ‘Reticulosphere’: Diversity of novel branching and network-forming amoebae helps to define Variosea (Amoebozoa). Protist 166: 271-295 doi: 10.1016/j.protis

Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2015): Comparison of similar Arctic and Antarctic morphotypes of heterotrophic protists regarding its genotypes and ecotypes. Protist 166: 42-57

Schoolmann, G., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2015): Aspects of the life span and phenology of the invasive freshwater shrimp Atyaephyra desmarestii (Millet, 1831) at the northeastern edge of its range (Upper Rhine). Crustaceana 88: 949-962


Jeuck, A., Arndt, H., Nitsche, F. (2014): Extended phylogeny of the Craspedida (Choanomonada). Europ. J. Protistol. 50: 430-443

Nitsche, F. (2014) Stephanoeca arndti spec. nov - First cultivation success including molecular and autecological data from a freshwater acanthoecid choanoflagellate from Samoa. Europ. J. Protistol. 50: 412-421


Domonell, A., Brabender, M., Nitsche, F., Bonkowski, M., Arndt, H. (2013): Community structure of cultivable protists in different grassland and forest soils of Thuringia. Pedobiologia 56: 1-7

Quintela-Alonso, P., Nitsche, F., Wylezich, C., Arndt, H., Foissner, W. (2013): A New Tetrahymena (Ciliophora, Oligohymenophorea) from Groundwater of Cape Town, South Africa.  J. Euk. Microbiol. 60:235-246


Brabender, M., Domonell, A., Kiss, A.K., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2012): Phylogenetic and morphological diversity of novel soil cercomonad species with a description of two new genera (Nucleocercomonas and Metabolomonas). Protist 163: 495-528

Shah Salani, F., Arndt, H., Hausmann, K., Nitsche, F., Scheckenbach, F. (2012): Analysis of the community structure of abyssal kinetoplastids revealed similar communities at larger spatial scales. ISME Journal 6: 713-723

Stoupin, D., Kiss, A.K., Arndt, H., Shatilovich, A.V., Gilichinsky, D.A., Nitsche, F. (2012): Cryptic diversity within the choanoflagellate morphospecies complex Codosiga botrytis – Phylogeny and morphology of ancient and modern isolates. Europ. J. Protistol. 48: 263-273

Pawlowski, J., Audic, S., Adl, S., Bass, D., Belbahri, L., Berney, C., Bowser, S.S., Cepicka, I., Decelle, J., Dunthorn, M., Fiore-Donno, A., Gile, H.G., Holzmann, M., Jahn, R., Jirk?, M., Keeling, J.P., Kostka, M., Kudryavtsev, A., Lara, E., Lukeš, J., Mann, G.D., Mitchell, A.D.E., Nitsche, F., Romeralo, M., Saunders, W.G., Simpson, G.B.A., Smirnov, V.A., Spouge, J., Stern, F.R., Stoeck, T., Zimmermann, J., Schindel, D., de Vargas, C. (2012): CBOL Protist Working Group: Barcoding eukaryotic richness beyond the animal, plant and fungal kingdoms. PLoS Biology 10 (11): e1001419


Nitsche, F., Carr, M., Arndt, H., Leadbeater, B.S.C. (2011): Higher level taxonomy and molecular phylogenetics of the Choanoflagellatea. J. Eukaryot. Microbiol. 58: 452-462

Quintela Alonso, P., Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2011): Molecular Characterization and Revised Systematics of Microdiaphanosoma arcuatum (Ciliophora, Colpodea). Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 58: 114-119


Nitsche, F., Arndt, H. (2008):  A new choanoflagellate species from Taiwan: Morphological and molecular biological studies of Diplotheca elongata nov. spec. and D. costata. Europ. J. Protistol.44: 220-226
Nitsche F., Weitere M., Scheckenbach F., Hausmann K., Wylezich C., Arndt H. (2007): Deep sea records of choanoflagellates with a description of two new species. Acta Protozool. 46 (2): 99-106