MEPS 490:147-154 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10381

Trematode prevalence-occupancy relationships on regional and continental spatial scales in marine gastropod hosts

David W. Thieltges1,*, David J. Marcogliese2, Christopher A. Blanar3, Robert Poulin4

1Marine Ecology Department, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands
2Aquatic Biodiversity Section, Watershed Hydrology and Ecology Research Division, Water Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, St. Lawrence Centre, 105 McGill Street, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2E7, Canada
3Division of Math, Science, and Technology, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, Nova Southeastern University,
3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314, USA
4Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand

ABSTRACT: The positive inter-specific relationship between local abundance and large-scale spatial occupancy is one of the most universal patterns in the distribution of species. However, evidence for the validity of this relationship in the marine realm is still scarce, especially for parasites. Using data from published studies, we investigated this relationship in trematode parasites infecting several marine gastropod species. On a regional spatial scale (<100 km between any pair of sites), we found a positive relationship between mean local prevalence (percentage of infected individuals in a population) and large-scale site occupancy among trematode species in all 4 gastropod host species investigated (Littorina obtusata, L. saxatilis, Hydrobia ventrosa, Ilyanassa obsoleta), although this was not significant in the case of L. saxatilis. Similar positive relationships were observed on a continental scale (>1000 km between the most distant sites) in 2 host species (L. littorea, H. ulvae). Further analyses pointed to the role of dispersal by the definitive hosts in shaping these prevalence-occupancy relationships as we found a significant interaction between definitive host type and mean local prevalence affecting the spatial occupancy of the trematodes infecting H. ulvae. While trematode species that use highly dispersive birds as definitive hosts exhibited a significant positive relationship, the ones that use less dispersive fish did not. Our results indicate that a positive relationship between local abundance and large-scale distribution also holds true for marine parasites, and they suggest a strong role of definitive host dispersal in linking local epidemiological infection patterns of parasites with their large-scale biogeographic distributions.


KEY WORDS: Parasitism · Macroecology · Biogeography · Species distributions


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Cite this article as: Thieltges DW, Marcogliese DJ, Blanar CA, Poulin R (2013) Trematode prevalence-occupancy relationships on regional and continental spatial scales in marine gastropod hosts. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 490:147-154. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10381

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