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Data from: Patterns of parasite community dissimilarity: the significant role of land use and lack of distance-decay in a bat—helminth system

Citation

Warburton, Elizabeth M.; Kohler, Steven L.; Vonhof, Maarten J. (2015), Data from: Patterns of parasite community dissimilarity: the significant role of land use and lack of distance-decay in a bat—helminth system, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.f5124

Abstract

Increasing community dissimilarity across geographic distance has been described for a wide variety of organisms and understanding its underlying causes is key to understanding mechanisms driving patterns of biodiversity. Both niche-based and neutral processes may produce a distance decay relationship; however, disentangling their relative influence requires simultaneous examination of multiple potential drivers. Parasites represent a unique opportunity in which to study distance decay because community dissimilarity may depend on environmental requirements and dispersal capability of parasites as well also those of their hosts. We used big brown bats Eptesicus fuscus and their intestinal helminths to investigate: 1) independent contributions of geographic and environmental distances on dissimilarity of intestinal helminth component communities between populations of big brown bats; 2) which environmental variables best explained variation in community dissimilarity; and 3) whether similar patterns of decay with geographic or environmental distance were observed for within-host population and within-individual host parasite communities. We used compositional measures of community dissimilarity to examine how parasite communities may change with geographic distance and varying environmental conditions. Non-spatial variables strongly influenced compositional parasite community dissimilarity over multiple community scales, and we observed little evidence for spatial processes such as distance decay. Environment surrounding roost sites better predicted helminth community dissimilarity than any other class of variables and landcover classes representing anthropogenic modification consistently explained variation in community structure. Our results indicate that human disturbance drives significant patterns of parasite community dissimilarity, most likely by changing the presence or abundance of intermediate hosts in an area.

Usage Notes

Location

Midwestern United States of America
Midwestern USA