Data from: Biogeography of avian blood parasites (Leucocytozoon spp.) in two resident hosts across Europe: phylogeographic structuring or the abundance-occupancy relationship?
Jenkins, Tania; Owens, Ian P. F. (2011), Data from: Biogeography of avian blood parasites (Leucocytozoon spp.) in two resident hosts across Europe: phylogeographic structuring or the abundance-occupancy relationship?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.f29q7
Relationships between hosts and parasites represent complex co-evolving systems that can vary both temporally and spatially. This variation may contribute to different co-evolutionary outcomes, ranging from highly geographically structured parasite populations comprised of specialist lineages that are locally abundant but have restricted global occupancy, to geographically unstructured parasite populations comprised of abundant generalists with broad global occupancy. Here, we present results from a large biogeographic study of the avian blood parasites of two sedentary host species, conducted at nine sites across Europe in a single year. The aim was to determine whether the parasite lineages were geographically and genetically structured across Europe, which could imply local adaptation. Employing molecular methods, we found a large diversity of parasites, and although overall prevalence varied greatly, the parasites were not genetically structured across Europe. Several measures of local parasite abundance were associated with the number of sites that the lineage occurred in, which is consistent with the macroecological phenomenon of the abundance-occupancy relationship. Taken together, our results show that parasite dispersal is somewhat uncoupled to that of the host in this system: we suggest that broad host and/or vector preference may play an important role in determining the distribution of these parasites and in affecting host-parasite coevolution in this system.