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Data from: Life cycle size dynamics in Didymosphenia geminata (Bacillariophytceae)

Cite this dataset

Bishop, Ian W.; Spaulding, Sarah A. (2018). Data from: Life cycle size dynamics in Didymosphenia geminata (Bacillariophytceae) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Didymosphenia geminata has received a great deal of attention in the last 25 years, and considerable effort has gone into determining the origin, ecological impact, and economic consequences of its invasive behavior. While environmental conditions are a controlling influence in distribution, the extreme success of the species may be tied to its basic biology and life history. Little is known, however, about population dynamics, size restoration and reproduction of D. geminata. The objective of this study was to determine the temporal patterns in cell size frequency, size restoration strategy, and synchronization of life cycles between populations in close proximity. We implemented FlowCam technology to measure the length of more than 100,000 D. geminata cells from two sites in South Boulder Creek, Colorado over 1 year. We applied finite mixture modeling to uncover temporal patterns in size distribution. Our results show that collections of D. geminata exhibited a complex, multimodal size distribution, almost always containing four overlapping age cohorts. We failed to observe direct visual evidence of the sexual phase. Multiple abrupt and directional shifts in size distribution, however, were documented providing conclusive evidence of cell size restoration. Lastly, nodules in close proximity were asynchronous with respect to size frequency profiles and size diminution, highlighting the relevance of spatial heterogeneity in in situ diatom size dynamics. This study is the first to document the complexity of diatom cell size distribution in a lotic system, size restoration in D. geminata, and the variability in rates of size reduction at microhabitat spatial scales.

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