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Temperature mesocosm data

Citation

Friesen, Olwyn; Poulin, Robert; Lagrue, Clément (2021), Temperature mesocosm data, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.gtht76hmd

Abstract

Predicting the effects of climate change requires understanding complex interactions among multiple abiotic and biotic factors. By influencing key interactions among host species, parasites can affect community and ecosystem structuring. Yet, our understanding of how multiple parasites and abiotic factors interact to alter ecosystem structure remains limited. To empirically test the role of temperature variation and parasites in shaping communities, we used a multigenerational mesocosm experiment composed of four sympatric freshwater crustacean species (isopods and amphipods) that share up to four parasite species. Mesocosms were assigned to one of four different treatments with contrasting seasonal temperatures (normal and elevated) and parasite exposure levels (continuous and arrested (presence or absence of parasite larvae in mesocosm)). We found that parasite exposure and water temperature had interactive effects on the host community. Continuous exposure to parasites altered the community structure and differences in water temperature altered species abundance. The abundance of the amphipod Paracalliope fluviatilis decreased substantially when experiencing continuous parasite exposure and elevated water temperatures. Elevated temperatures also led to parasite-induced mortality in another amphipod host, Paracorophium excavatum. Contrastingly, isopod hosts were affected much less, suggesting increasing temperatures in conjunction with higher parasite exposure might increase their relative abundance in the community. Changes in invertebrate host populations have implications for other species such as fish and birds that consume crustaceans as well as having impacts on ecosystem processes, such as aquatic primary production and nutrient cycling. In light of climate change predictions, parasite exposure and rise in average temperatures may have substantial impacts on communities and ecosystems, altering ecosystem structure and dynamics.

Methods

The data set represents a mesocosm experiment with four treatments. Each mesocosm was composed of four sympatric freshwater crustacean species (isopods (Austridotea annectens and A. lacustris) and amphipods (Paracalliope fluviatilis and Paracorophium excavatum)) that share up to four parasite species (trematodes Coitocaecum parvum and Maritrema poulini, nematode, Hedruris spinigera, and acanthocephalan, Acanthocephalus galaxii). Mesocosms were assigned to one of four different treatments with contrasting seasonal temperatures (normal and elevated) and parasite exposure levels (continuous and arrested (presence or absence of parasite larvae in mesocosm)). We had 6 replicates per treatment for a total of 24 mesocosms. The data set presented here represents the host and parasite community by mesocosm. 

Funding

Department of Zoology, University of Otago