Freshwater Crayfish 22(1): 9-18 (2016)
PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH ARTICLE
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Geographic patterns of crayfish symbiont diversity persist over half a century despite seasonal fluctuations
Published Online: 12/31/2016
We analyzed historical data from 1961-1965 for species occurrences of branchiobdellidans and their crayfish hosts throughout the Mountain Lake Region of southwestern Virginia, USA to quantify geographic variability in species composition and identify patterns in host and symbiont diversity. We collected contemporary census data of branchiobdellidan assemblages from the same region in 2011-2014 for intra-annual variation in symbiont abundance and species composition. We compared historical and contemporary records to assess the stability of geographic patterns in symbiont diversity over decadal timescales. Branchiobdellidan assemblages followed a hump-shaped relationship with Strahler stream order. Much of the geographic variation in symbiont species composition was explained by host species composition, despite low host fidelity in branchiobdellidans. There were strong seasonal cycles in branchiobdellidan abundance and species composition. A comparison of historical and contemporary records revealed little change in species distributions over 50 years. Thus, branchiobdellidan species composition changes predictably along habitat gradients, tracks variation in host composition, is repeatable across decadal timescales, and follow strong cyclic seasonal changes in total and relative abundances. These results suggest that complex but deterministic ecological processes drive symbiont population dynamics at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
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How to Cite
Skelton J, Creed RP, Landler L, Geyer KM and Brown BL. (2016). Geographic patterns of crayfish symbiont diversity persist over half a century despite seasonal fluctuations. Freshwater Crayfish 22(1):9-18. doi: 10.5869/fc.2016.v22-1.9
James Skelton,* School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, PO Box 110410, Gainesville, Florida, United States32611. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert P. Creed, Department of Biology, Appalachian State University, 575 Rivers Street, Boone, NC, USA28608. E-mail: email@example.com
Lukas Landler, Biological Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1405 Perry Street, 2125 Derring Hall,Blacksburg, VA, United States24061. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin M. Geyer, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, University of New Hampshire, , Durham, NH, USA03824. E-mail: email@example.com
Bryan Brown, Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1405 Perry Street, 2125 Derring Hall,Blacksburg, VA, United States24061. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Corresponding Author indicated by an *.
Manuscript Submitted: 6/21/2016
Manuscript Accepted: 12/14/2016
Published Online: 12/31/2016
Published in Print: 12/31/2016
No specific funding statement is available for this article.